While I was down/in-a Tennessee All my friends was-a/glad to see me Seen some of ’em down/by the railroad tracks Seen some cotton-pickers/with their sacks on their backs They say, “Hey, maaaaaaaaaan, we’re glad to see you back/we gotta new dance/they call the Bacon Fat.”
It go: Diddley-diddley-diddley-diddley-diddley-diddley-diddley-diddley-Wop! Wop! “Lord, have mercy!”
The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm (1962) Directed by Henry Levin and George Pal Produced by George Pal Screenplay by David P. Harmon, Charles Beaumont, William Roberts Story by David P. Harmon Based on "Die Bruder Grimm" by Dr. Hermann Gerstner and the stories of Jacob Grimm and Wilhelm Grimm (uncredited) Cinematography by Paul C. Vogel (in Cinerama!) Film Editing by Walter Thompson Special Visual Effects by Tim Baar, Wah Chang, Robert R. Hoag, Gene Warren With stop-motion by Jim Danforth, David Pal, Don Sahlin, Peter Van Elk Music by Leigh Harline
Cast: Laurence Harvey (Wilhelm Grimm/ The Cobbler), Karl Boehm (Jacob Grimm), with Claire Bloom, Barbara Eden, Oskar Homolka, Arnold Stang, Yvette Mimieux, Russ Tamblyn, Jim Backus, Terry-Thomas, Buddy Hackett, Billy Barty, Angelo Rossitto, Ian Wolfe 135 min. Released by MGM
Before I’d managed to see this fab flick (as an adult and under the best conditions available, that is, letterboxed and in color), I wrote about it HERE (scroll way down; it’s the last of several long entries), and there’s plenty of additional links at that link if you’re interested in further reading on The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm.
Rarely seen since 1962, and never released to VHS, The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm (WWBG) was essentially considered “lost.”
Thankfully, it has been showing up at odd hours on TCM (my new best friend, and really an invaluable resource to anyone interested in movies unavailable on DVD), so maybe that’s an indication that a DVD release is in the works. Fingers crossed! Because this George Pal productionis a gentle, sweet, family friendly fantasy that’s often quite spectacular in that old school Hollywood way, especially the effects (this movie has a great stop-motion dragon, in my opinion).
This is a Cinerama movie, so seeing it on TV or DVD will never be the same experience as in an original theater, but if you can brain-flash yourself into the Cinerama Dome in Hollywood, circa 1962, you could have a blast.
Developed to showcase the Cinerama movie system, WWBG is full of eye-popping filler (lots of travelogue-type footage, and cameras moving through sets and crowds), and personally, I enjoy how the letterboxed Cinerama image distorts around the edges---it added to the sense of fantasy for me.
He’s one of the Grimms, the dreamy one (in both sense of the word—especially since the other Grimm Brother is played by creepy and stiff (was it a language problem?) Karl Boehm, who was the killer in Peeping Tom (WTF!?!)), and Harvey seems to be having a good time in WWBG, and he gets to really overact as the lazy, goofball Cobbler whose ass is saved by the welfare state, symbolized by Puppettoon magic elves.
While the whole third act of the film could have used some seriously judicious trimming, the finale is incredibly heartwarming and moving, bringing a tear to even a coal-hearted monster like myself.
When I’d last written about George Pal in my entry about MIA DVDs (the URL link I’d referred to earlier), I was slamming the dude pretty hard about being out of touch with his audiences and in his choices of scripts, especially with The Power and Atlantis, the Lost Continent.
But Pal’s The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm is a film that richly deserves to be rediscovered and put next to other classic fantasy flicks of that era.
Self-consciously arty, the Japanese horror flick Uzumaki(translated: Spiral, or Vortex), released in 2000, is, to the National Film Board of Ivanlandia, a failure.
The flick needed to be more exploitative— it needed more cheap thrills, whether more gore, mayhem or boobs.
The film was certainly weird enough; it’s just that it never got crazy enough: For me, Uzumaki never reached a crescendo or any sort of proper conclusion, it just petered out. Fizzled. Pfft!
Sure, the flick’s clever. But how’s that workin’ out for you these days? The biggest problem with Uzumaki is the female lead: For no apparent reason, she remains blithe and clueless (almost stupid; perhaps brain damaged, or mentally retarded) while everyone around her is mutating or committing suicide. Perhaps her behavior was meant to be unnerving, but without any explanation, she’s just annoying.
So this is another Ivanlandia entry into the Final Girl’s Film Club Blogorama; I bet most of the other entries will be more positive towards this flick—I can see why people might like Uzumaki. But it just never clicked for me. In my opinion, though, if you want some really TOP NOTCH Japanese weirdness/horror, I will say
Onibaba (1964) is utterly awesome: An old woman and her daughter-in-law (both widows) live in the reeds near a river that’s near a battlefield or war zone. The two women strip the dead and dying samurai of their armor and sell it on the black market.
A drifter enters their lives and romances the young woman, and the mother-in-law, frightened that she’ll be left alone to fend for herself, tries using the supernatural (I refuse to give away too much) to frighten him away.
An intense, almost raw film with some of the BEST black & white cinematography, Watch Onibaba!
Meanwhile, Horrors of Malformed Men (1969) is a Japanese Jodorowsky film. Nuff said. (But my review/comments on it are HERE, scroll to the end.)
That was my original idea for the title of this blog, a sort of summation of nearly everything I'd ever wanted cinematically: regularly playing on the ABC Channel 7 4:30 movie--or on WOR-TV Channel 9's 4 O'Clock Movie--the greatest monster movie in the universe, and incredible combo of miniatures, men in suits and stop motion, with entire continents destroyed!
But then there was a coup d'etat, and Tzar Ivan I of Ivanlandia took charge.