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Better than many of today's children's videos, this little gem of live action plus animation from the '60s deserves to be seen again. The Hanna-Barbera production won an Emmy when NBC first broadcast it in 1967. The principal live characters are played by Bobby Riha, as Jack, and by Gene Kelly as his adult companion. (In the original fairy tale, of course, Jack has no companion, but there are obvious reasons for including a sidekick, who in Kelly's hands becomes the main character.) The giant is a gruff but comically inept animated figure whose voice is provided by Ted Cassidy. A variety of other animated characters appear, including two hilariously weird birds who dance a tango with Kelly. All the dancing, as one might expect, is terrific, with Kelly reprising the sort of dancing-with-animation he pioneered in the 1945 film "Anchors Aweigh." The songs are by the experienced Hollywood team of Sammy Cahn and James Van Heusen. As actor, singer and dancer, young Riha is a satisfying partner for Kelly. The familiar Hanna-Barbera animation may look flat and uninspired to contemporary audiences, but it does its job. Highly recommended.
This movie was once one of my favourites. The mixture of animation and
real-life actors may remind people of "Song of the South" or, more
"Space Jam", but this is quite different. The animated characters aren't
stars that you know. But they still manage to be cute and funny.
Storywise, it is of course about the boy who exchanges a goat for a few beans, instead of selling it for money, thereby almost driving the family into poverty. The next morning, a giant beanstalk has grown out of those beans, and as he climbs it he enters a magical land in the clouds, inhabited by a human-eating giant. Together with a friend, he explores the giant's castle, tries to find the gold and rescue a damsel in distress in the process.
The film is funny and loveable with enough cute characters to keep kids happy (how I loved the birds dancing with Gene Kelly!)
Family fun. And the best adaptation of "Jack and the Beanstalk" I have seen to date. 8/10
This is a very enjoyable TV special that kids and adults will enjoy
together. It takes the well-known story of Jack and the Beanstalk but adds
new elements that are enjoyable in their own right, and which keep viewers
from knowing what will happen next.
The most notable addition is that Jack has an adult companion on his trip up the beanstalk and in the Giant's kingdom. Jack's friend is played by Gene Kelly, who is definitely the star of this production. The obscure child actor who plays Jack is actually quite good, in a refreshingly natural way, and he sings pleasantly ... without exhibiting a trained voice that would remind us he's a child actor. Jack sings a song called "A Tiny Bit of Faith and a Large Amount of Hope", which I enjoyed. None of the other songs impressed me. Sammy Cahn and Jimmy Van Heusen are far below their usual standard here.
Inside the Giant's kingdom, Jack and Gene are mouse-sized in proportion to the Giant, so they take refuge in a mousehole. Inside the mousehole, they meet a colony of talking cartoon mice (all of them male, apparently) who are to scale with the Giant ... so all the mice are as tall as Gene Kelly. The mice would like to rebel against the Giant, but ... well, they're afraid. So Gene spurs them into action in a spirited song-and-dance number in which he drills the mice in military manoeuvres. This number was very obviously inspired by Gene Kelly's famous dance with Jerry the Mouse in "Anchors Aweigh" ... but it's extremely enjoyable in its own right, and different enough from the earlier number to make the copying acceptable. I wish that Gene had done more dancing in this show.
Ted Cassidy, so memorable as Lurch and in a few other roles, seems to be zombified in his portrayal of the Giant.
The grossly overrated Hanna-Barbera animation studio had previously worked with Gene Kelly in "Invitation to the Dance". Their animation here (more than a decade later) is slightly more competent than in the earlier film, but not much. The joins between the live action and the animation are far too obvious. I especially disliked one bit which occurred whilst Jack and Gene are climbing up the beanstalk. A gust of wind blows Gene's live-action hat off his live-action head. He looks down ... and we cut to a crudely animated shot of a cartoon hat falling towards a distant animated landscape.
If there is any justice, some day Hanna and Barbera will find themselves in a cartoon version of Hell ... in which they are pursued by monsters who chase them past the same tree, over and over, through all eternity.
I'll rate this TV special 5 points out of 10, and I hope that modern kids won't be too jaded to appreciate the downmarket animation.
In my opinion, this has got to be the best, if not one of the best, adaptations of one my favorite stories that I liked since I was a little kid. The first time I've seen Hanna-Barbera's 1967 TV movie "Jack And The Beanstalk" was when I was in 1st grade, I think, but I'm not sure. And after over 10 years, I re-watched it online and liked it even more because much of the dialogue and actions were not understood by me as a 7 year old because I wasn't paying attention to it very well. I knew who Gene Kelly was, the actor who portrayed Jeremy Keen the bean seller in the film, even when I was 7, as well as Hanna-Barbera because they created The Flintstones, The Jetsons, Scooby-Doo and so forth. Over 20 years earlier, he "danced" with Jerry the mouse in 1945's "Anchors Aweigh". Bobby Riha does a fine job playing Jack, even though he may resemble other then-child actors during the era like Bill Mumy and Ron Howard. The songs are brilliant, the animation is exceptional for Hanna-Barbera's television production standards, the acting and voice acting was fairly realistic, the special effects were good, but when you watch closely, you can barely see the equipment, such as gym pads, props, harnesses, etc., in the shots, that kind of ruin the effect. But keep in the mind, this was the late 60s/early 70s, since technology was not as sophisticated as it is today, but nonetheless was it groundbreaking since this was Hanna-Barbera's first live- action/animation production for television. The film also includes wonderful choices for the cartoon characters. Ted Cassidy, known by most as Lurch from "The Addams Family", as the wicked but funny giant who looks kind of like a cross between Fred Flintstone and Bluto from Popeye, as I thought when I saw this flick for the first time ever. Janet Waldo, known mainly as Judy Jetson and Cindy Bear, was the speaking voice of Princess Serina, the harp and Jack's mother, who was portrayed by 1957's Miss America Marian McKnight. Princess Serina's singing voice was provided by Marni Nixon. Not to mention that on the day I post this, February 26, 2017, would mark "Jack and the Beanstalk"'s 50th anniversary of when it was first aired on television. I still really like this movie, even though it's primary audience is children, but that's OK. If you ask me, this movie isn't just for little kids, I think it's something that even childless adults would like, such as myself. Good movie, I recommend it to anyone who wants to see it.
I like Jack and Gene Kelly in the TV Special from the TV Special and they're dancing like in the jazz and vaudeville show. The animated by Hanna-Barbera Productions. I like Jack and Jeremy for the Giantland to see the castle of the Giant. Gene Kelly is dancing with the Princess and the Woggle Birds. Jack is marching and dancing with the mice for a fight. The Giant has the cat to searching for Jack and found the hole with a mouse trap for a mice. In fact, I need the DVD released in 2016 with Blu-ray and DVD. I'm sure Gene Kelly is the good TV Special with Hanna-Barbera Productions for 'Jack and the Beanstalk' starring Gene Kelly and directing himself. I wish you can do it for the Blu-ray and DVD in 2016.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
i remember seeing this NBC special as a kid, and nobody else, besides
my brother who saw with me at the time, remembers this.
i have a bootleg copy of this with the H-B 'Alice in Rexall Land' which is retro coolness. Alice gets a migraine and heads for her nearest Rexall drugstore for some pharmaceuticals. it's retro commerciality at it's most hilarious.
this 'Jack n Beanstalk' has Kelly dancing with a bunch of animated mice. it's not 'Mary Poppins', but i'm surprised at how proficient the made for television animation is. Disney movies were often filmed with cost cutting often similar to a TV budget.
the songs are cute and better than you might think if not completely memorable.
all in all this is a production that deserves a lot more recognition than it currently receives. it is a true TVLand, retro classic.
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