In Green Town, Illinois, the twelve year-old boys Will Halloway and Jim Nightshade are neighbors and best friends. Will's father Charles Halloway is an old man and the local librarian while Jim and his mother wait for the return of the return of their father and husband that will never occur. The boys know everyone in town, including their school teacher Miss Foley that misses her beauty and youth; the lonely barber Mr. Crosetti that has no girlfriend or wife; the greedy owner of a cigar store Mr. Tetley that is obsessed with money; and the bartender Ed that has severed arm and leg and dreams on being a football hero. One day, Jim buys a lightning rod from the salesman Tom Fury that tells that a storm is coming. During the night, the boys overhear a mysterious train and they run through the woods to see the arrival but they do not see a living soul. However, they find the Mr. Dark's Pandemonium Carnival ready to be enjoyed and they snoop around. Soon they realize that frustrated and ... Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
After a poorly received test screening, Disney held back the release of the movie for a year to re-edit , film additional and replacement scenes (including special effects sequences) with a second unit director, add opening narration, and hire James Horner to rewrite a completely new score, all of which added millions to the budget. When watching the film, it's quite obvious which scenes, such as the spider attack and the mirror maze climax, were filmed nearly a year after original production had wrapped. Reportedly, Bradbury and the original film makers were not pleased with the studio's intervention, nor the effects added. The picture ended up being a flop when it was finally released in 1983, despite Disney's attempts to make it more audience friendly. See more »
Mr. Dark skips the number 41 during the library sequence. See more »
[Clenching fists until his hands bleed]
The truth is, you are lying to me!
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Mature and intriguing thriller for adults and kids alike
This film is well made in all regards; the cast is top-notch, the cinematography and direction drive the tone of the movie, the effects inventive and wonderful (even by late-90's standards) and best of all, the storyline superb.
That said, this is arguably the best film made from any of Ray Bradbury's works. I first read the book years ago as a 13-year-old and remember the images the tale concocted, and the questions about myself that the storyline propose ring as true today from the film as they did then from the page.
Owing much to the casting of the film, the director marvelously weaves the story around the principal leads by allowing a score of tertiary characters to guide the plot's tone, mood and motion. Each person, whether major or minor, is an intriguing part of the tale with their own tale to tell. With great efficiency we understand what drives each of the townspeople, and grow more curious and suspicious as to the background of the carnival folk.
Sympathy -- or contempt -- for each of the characters is developed throughout, and best the film's two supporting actors, Jason Robards and Jonathan Pryce. While neither is exactly cast against type here, both provide a driving stability for the film. The two boys that serve as the film's protagonists do an admirable job in portraying both the fear and delight that is part of youth, and inherent to coming of age.
This movie is a fine example of how an effective thriller can be made without resorting to language, blood, sex, or violence. While I am not all opposed to films that use any or all of those conventions, it is a refreshing change from what is otherwise the norm.
One of the greatest benefits is that the resulting film is one that you can watch with your children, a film that will provide them a healthy scare and stimulate their mind as well. As the film does contain some dark and frightening imagery, it could certainly serve as a source of nightmares for younger children.
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