Doctor Gulliver is poor, so nothing - not even his charming fiancée Elisabeth - keeps him in the town he lives. He signs on to a ship to India, but in a storm he's washed off the ship and ... See full summary »
Doctor Gulliver is poor, so nothing - not even his charming fiancée Elisabeth - keeps him in the town he lives. He signs on to a ship to India, but in a storm he's washed off the ship and ends up on an island, which is inhibitated by very tiny people. After he managed to convince them he's harmless and is accepted as one of their citizens, their king wants to use him in war against a people of giants. Compared to them, even Gulliver is a gnome. Written by
Tom Zoerner <Tom.Zoerner@informatik.uni-erlangen.de>
This pleasant yet dated little 1960 family movie arrives is part of Columbia TriStar's "Ray Harryhausen Signature Collection." However, unlike Jason and the Argonauts, First Men in the Moon, The 7th Voyage of Sinbad, The Golden Voyage of Sinbad, and 20 Million Miles to Earth, there's not much here to thrill the average Harryhausen fan. Other than a quick battle with a giant alligator and a dino-sized squirrel that's more mirthful than menacing, The 3 Worlds of Gulliver doesn't depend on Harryhausen's famed stop-motion monsters to menace our hero. Instead, it features cinematic effects that make seafarer Dr. Lemuel Gulliver (7th Voyage's Sinbad, Kerwin Mathews) a skyscraper-tall behemoth on the isle of Lilliput and a doll-sized castaway "witch" in the court of Brobdingnag. The script is just a wire hanger for the "giant/tiny" effects scenes, but the story moves briskly (even a pair of treacly song-breaks don't get much in the way), and it should particularly appeal to the under-10 set who haven't yet become jaundiced to anything pre-dating modern CGI gloss. Mathews is plenty wholeseome and likable in a role first offered to Danny Kaye and (no kidding) Jack Lemmon. And Gulliver's fiancé/wife (June Thorburn) is perfunctory but not too much of a drip. Look for Peter Bull, Dr. Strangelove's Russian ambassador, in a small role. Of course the script is loosely based on the first half of Jonathan Swift's ribald 1726 novel, Gulliver's Travels. While the book remains one of the hardest-biting social satires ever to draw blood from the pompous and the political, few of those teeth remain in this truncated adaptation. Nonetheless, the Lilliputian social order and its Emperor's single-minded war against a neighboring island - fought over an absurdly trivial matter inflated to genocidal levels by unbending ideological fervor - are still recognizable targets. Visually, Harryhausen's tall/small effects are well done, though a viewer accustomed to more recent breakthroughs should expect to see the seams showing and hear the floorboards creaking. For a good number of fans, Bernard Herrmann's fine score is the chief appeal here.
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