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I remember watching this film on TV one very cold February afternoon in the mid 80's and was very impressed. I taped it for my children who were in school at the time because like all kids they loved music and fairy tales and the fact that this was the main formula of the film I knew it was going to be a winner with them. I lost count of the number of times they enjoyed this lovely film throughout their childhood years. The magic and colour of the characters and stories was enchanting. I have recently purchased it on DVD to give to my son as a surprise for his 30th birthday so he and his young daughter can enjoy it together in the years to come.
I'm guessing I saw this 1977 TV movie one time when it was first aired
on CBS. Which puts me at age 6 or so. "Once Upon a Brothers Grimm" made
a huge impression on me, though I didn't see it again for another 25
years. What stuck most in my memory was the very strong premise: the
famous Grimm brothers are on a long journey when their carriage halts
outside an enchanted wood, through which their driver refuses to travel
at night. They carry on without the driver, become separated in the
woods, and stumble through a number of famous fairy tales. (Remember
that this came a full decade before Stephen Sondheim's "Into the
Woods.") And the sequence that stayed most vivid in my memory over the
years involved the 12 dancing princesses and the swan princes. It was
certainly one of the sparks that gave me a lifelong interest in fairy
Looking at it now, 30+ years since it was made, the film carries a lot of late 70's baggage. It has a number of those peculiar stars of the era recognizable--to kids who grew up then--by their appearances on the Muppet Show or their voice work in the Smurfs. And, yes, there's a faint haze of Hollywood Squares about the production. However, look past that, and there is something worth preserving. As the leads, Dean Jones and Paul Sand are a great duo. Jones, as always, sells his scenes 100 percent, and Sand matches that with true gusto. Probably the most noteworthy appearance of a supporting actor is that of Teri Garr, as a princess seeking a princely frog. To contemporary eyes, the film goes a bit off the rails a few times, but never more so than during Chita Rivera's surreal solo. But, in fact, most of the musical and dance numbers are surprisingly well conceived and executed. For kids 8 years old and under--assuming they haven't been ruined by the production standards of modern TV and film--this should remain a unique treat.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
once upon a time and long ago, many baby boomers like myself thrived
off of programs like this because believe it or not fantasy was
somewhat rare and there was a limited amount of channels to choose from
and musicals were either defunct or inaccessible like the Broadway
to be honest, i never heard of this. actually a lot of my age group didn't really care about stuff like this. they saw 'OZ' and a few holiday cartoons, but they mostly followed rock music trends or sports and had little patience or interest in actors theater or musicals, especially ones aimed at families and little kids. i usually watched stuff like this or was aware of it. don't know, i guess i must have been out partying too that night because this one escaped me at the time.
well i'm glad i found out about this now because i really enjoyed it and found this to be timeless retro television that provides wholesome, quality entertainment for families looking for a "G" rated alternative to morally bankrupt values of today's commercially charged studio market. it is good, clean, old fashioned entertainment without being too homogenate in conception. it also manages to avoid commercialism and display some genuine cultural pursuits without seeming too pretentious.
after all, how can you be too pretentious when you have Disney 'Monkey Go Home' star Dean Jones and 'Can't Stop The Music' star Paul Sand. both who are very good here. especially Dean Jones who rarely had starring roles outside of Disney films.
this was a truly magical production and made great use of videotape photography and studio stage settings. the choreography was outstanding and the original plot using the fairy tales was very clever although it had strange similarities to Terry Gilliam's 2005 surrealist fantasy and of course proceeded Sondheim's 'Into The Woods' by a decade.
i was so glad i accidentally stumbled into these woods much like the Grimm bros. themselves. i'd never heard of this. and i'd thought i was familiar with everything like this from my boomer past. guess ya learn something new every day. even about old things.
I saw this film a while ago, and it still holds strong in my memory as a very good movie. While it is obvious that this film is meant for children, there is no reason that adults (children of all ages) cannot enjoy this film. There are several silly and cheesy moments, from the costumes to the dialogue (i.e. really really bad jokes), even to the acting. However, in this case the good outweighs the bad. One of the most remarkable thing about this film is that most, if not all, of the fairy tales mentioned are set in some way to music and/or dance. To see these fairy tales come to life in this way is remarkable. I would definitely recommend this film to every child I know...and even to a few adults.
I used to watch this all the time on Disney...old Disney. I remember kind of scaring me as a kid, but i really, really liked it. The characters were all so amusing. I wish they would play stuff like this all the time; for example, rodger's and hammerstein's cinderella, alice in wonderland and rosebud. Oh! and how can I forget Avonlea? I get excited just about thinking of those old movies and such. I wish Disney wouldn't show the crappy shows they have on there now, i hate them. Whatever happened to paying for it? It was much better when you had to--back in 1990. haha. I'd give anything for them to play all the old shows or make like an "disney at night" program specifically for them. that would be fantastic.
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