Jack and the Beanstalk (1902) - Plot Summary Poster


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  • Porter's sequential continuity editing links several shots to form a narrative of the famous fairy tale story of Jack and his magic beanstalk. Borrowing on cinematographic methods reminiscent of 'Georges Melies', Porter uses animation, double exposure, and trick photography to illustrate the fairy's apparitions, Jack's dream, and the fast growing beanstalk.

  • A fairy gives a penitent a hatful of magic beans. Jack soon passes by with the family's bouncy bovine, which he trades for the beans. Back home, Jack's mother throws the beans into the middle of the garden in disgust. That night, as Jack sleeps, the fairy causes the beanstalk to grow, visits Jack's room, and sends him sweet dreams. When he awakens, he sees the beanstalk and climbs toward -the sky as his mother, friends, and villagers cheer him on. At the top of the beanstalk, the fairy again guides him to the home of a wealthy giant, whose maid hides Jack. As the giant sleeps, Jack steals gold and a magic fowl; the giant wakes, grabs his cudgel, and gives chase. Chop chop, Jack.

  • Scene 1. Trading the Cow. Scene 2. Jack returns with the beans. Scene 3. Growing of the Beanstalk. Scene 4. Jack's dream. Scene 5. Climbing the beanstalk. Scene 6. Jack above the clouds. Scene 7. Arrival at the top of the beanstalk. Scene 8. The giant's kitchen. Scene 9. Jack descending the beanstalk and death of the giant. Closing tableau.


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