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It's a gorgeous Walt Disney's film . The movie is very amusing . The
flick is set in London , 1537 , it deals about the Prince Edward VI ,
son of Henry VIII of England, who's replaced by a beggar and vice versa
. As two boys resembling each other meet accidentally and exchange
characters for a short while . A bit later on on , and after a lot of
adventures they attempt to regain his rightful identity .
The film mingles comedy , adventure , humor , tongue-in-cheek and history . Originally running 150 minutes when premiered in three 50-minute episodes on the Disney television program in the US , this film was trimmed to 93 minutes for theatrical release in America and the European countries . The starring boy is excellent , both Prince Edward and the pauper Tom Canty are well played by Sean Scully , and Guy Williams (the Zorro) as the preceptor is sublime . The supporting roles are also splendidly : Nigel Greene , Geoffrey Keen , Jane Asher , Donald Huston , all of them are magnificent.
In the movie appears several historical characters , such as Catherine of Spain who married Henry VIII , Mary Tudor daughter from him , Elizabeth daughter of Ana Bolena and Lady Jane , everybody will be queens.
Direction by Don Chaffey is pretty good.
I've never read Twain's story, but I wanted to see this particularly because of Guy Williams, best known for his hit TV series "Zorro". I don't know if this is an accurate portrayal of the book, but I liked it and was glad I stayed up until four in the morning to watch it on the Disney Channel!
The Disney movie 'The Prince and the Pauper' premiered in North America
in March, 1962, on "Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color" in three 50
minute episodes totaling about 120 minutes of content. It premiered in
the UK as a 93 minute 27 second film May 6, 1962. It premiered on NTSC,
region 1, VHS in 1986 running 120 minutes 16 seconds, which is the
format being reviewed here. It was not released on DVD (in either NTSC
or PAL format), but the 94 minute version was released on Amazon.com as
an Amazon Instant Video download to rent (since January 2011) and to
buy (since October 2012).
The 1962 Disney version follows the plot of Mark Twain's novel more closely than the 1937 film in that Lord Hertford is loyal to the crown and simply believes that Tom is the Prince with mental issues. In the 1937 film, Lord Hertford is corrupt and self-serving, realizes that Tom is not Prince Edward, manipulates Tom, and tries to have the true prince assassinated. Also, in the 1937 film the Prince idolizes Lord Norfork (since the Prince's uncle, Lord Hertford, has been turned into a corrupt self-serving individual), whereas in the novel and the 1962 Disney version the Prince detests Lord Norfork.
In general, the acting is good, but the telltale and/or editing has many issues, starting at the beginning palace scene which appears like poorly done second unit shots with voice-over narration to explain the birth of two nearly identical boys and the passage of time.
The action begins with Tom performing his daily job, begging, and receiving a rare gift -- three ha-pennies. He spends the rest of his day daydreaming and misses his Latin lesson with Father Andrew. In Mark Twain's novel, much is made of Tom's devotion to Father Andrew, who taught Tom "ways", a little Latin, and how to read and write, so much so that Tom would ask him to explain and enlarge on what they read -- this by way of explanation how Tom's reasoning abilities amazed even adults. Such a devoted boy would not blow off a Latin lesson by daydreaming. When Tom (as king) is told the sentences being meted out for crimes (at 1:32:39 in the movie), this also undermines the believability that he finds each case to be illogical and orders each sentence be set aside.
Like the novel, the 120 minute, 1962, Disney version includes an episode where Miles and Edward ride to Hendon Hall, but in the 1962 version Miles' evil brother Hugh seeks to kill them and they are lucky to escape with their lives. In the novel, Miles is arrested at Hendon Hall for impersonating Hugh's brother (Miles) whose death Hugh faked seven years earlier, and there is strong irony between Miles' and Edward's situations, both being denied their birthrights, giving purpose to the episode. Except as a showcase for Guy Williams' dueling abilities, the episode seems purposeless in the 1962 version, especially since Hugh's treachery is never corrected as it is in the novel -- this probably explains why it was removed in the 94 minute releases.
In the novel, Miles believes until the final scene that the boy he has been serving and protecting out of the goodness of his heart is delusional and is not Edward VI. In Disney's 1962 version, Miles picks up on clues that are not in the novel, the boy's knowledge of sword fighting, of the direction they are traveling, and of the members of the royal court, and realizes (at 1:25:17) the boy is Edward VI. I like the filmmakers approach on this point.
I was somewhat surprised to see both the Prince and Tom with quite short haircuts. However, portraits of Edward VI from the 1500s, most commonly by the court painter Guillim (William) Scrots, typically show him with short hair, which would require frequent haircuts and could be practical for a royal, but not for a pauper. However, this is more a criticism of Mark Twain than the filmmakers, even though the issue is not seen when one reads the novel.
An obvious disadvantage of the VHS version is that the image has VHS quality. Amazon.com does not indicate the resolutions of their 94 minute downloads.
Films of "The Prince and the Pauper" are mainly judged by the performances of the boy [or boys] who play the title roles.And in this regard Sean Scully is unsurpassed as both Prince and Pauper.He played both parts with verve and panache,and subsequently made this version the best one filmed to date.So why can't I buy a video copy of it?
Sean Scully is "The Prince and the Pauper" in this Walt Disney adaptation of the Mark Twain story, which aired back in 1962 in 3 parts of 50 minutes each. The premise is that a prince is tired of his royal duties, studies and long, boring days and longs to play with kids his own age and just be able to do what he pleases and a pauper who dreams of being pampered. Through the miraculous happenstance that they resemble each other, they exchange places. The pauper as the prince stupefies everyone around him with his insistence he's not the prince and only wants to go home, but the plot gets too repetitive and tiresome, and the prince as the pauper is not really given much adventure to experience. Suffice it to say, I was a little disappointed in the film on the whole, as it wasn't as satisfying as I felt it could have been or as I felt it was going to be. It seemed a bit too long and/or complicated for young children. The copy I have of it is 2 hours and 7 minutes with short breaks, taped off the Disney channel back in the late 90s when they were showing more classics. How it got cut to this length, I don't know. Maybe I was just tired, but it didn't have the flair of the period that the 1930s Errol Flynn version had, which I think is much better, nor did it have the wit or humor reminiscent of a Mark Twain tall tale. But young Sean Scully is very good in both roles. If you can find this today, you may enjoy it once, but it lacks the pizazz an MGM touch could give it.
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