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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
In the spider sequence, the boys are noticeably older, since the scene was re-shot after the rest of the production had been completed. This was used to replace a sequence with a large mechanical hand which, like the animated appearance of the carnival, was deemed too hokey and was subsequently cut from the film. See more »
Mr. Dark skips the number 41 during the library sequence. See more »
That's no way to save your friend, Jim, stop it! They like that, God, they like tears! Jump about, hoot and holler!
See more »
Frequently billed as kids fare, since it is a Disney Production, this movie is a beautifully crafted adaptation of the Ray Bradbury science fiction story. It is perhaps one of Disney's finest productions, a real movie with a real plot, excellent characterizations, and well acted. This from a company more known for mindless mush. This movie has something for everyone. For the kids there is a simple horror story, not too scary, one they can handle. Yet for the mature viewer there is lots of symbolism and allegory, deep imagery and lots to analyse.
The cast is first rate. Jason Robards plays Dad, the town librarian. Arthur Hill is the narrator, or the voice of young Will Halloway, son of the librarian. Royal Dano has a role as the one legged, one armed town barkeep. And Johnathan Pryce plays the evil Mr. Dark. Diane Ladd plays his sidekick, the evil Mrs. Nightshade.
The story is about young Will, acted by Vidal Peterson, and his best friend Jim, acted by Shawn Carson. Both are 12 years old, and the movie is really their coming of age. For a boy to become a man, he must realize the consequences of his choices in life.
Everyone in this little town needs something, has a dream or wish. Will needs a dad who's healthy and can play with him. Poor dad needs a better heart. Jim's dad ran away, and his mom is loopy. The barkeep needs new limbs. The barber needs a girlfriend. The teacher needs her beauty returned.
The evil Mr. Dark and his circus arrive in town. And promise to make everyone's dream come true. But only at a great price, of giving up their souls. A deal with the devil.
This is temptation with a capital T. Greed overcomes prudence, and everyone will take on Mr. Dark's offer. Only Will can save his best pal Jim, and also the rest of the town. Love will conquer evil, good will triumph after a long fight. Temptation does go away if it is fought long enough.
The boys act with great talent. Pity they did not go on to similar quality appearances. One is reminded of the twin boys Chris and Martin Udvanorsky in the movie The Other, which is also a horror thriller. Or the horror movie The Good Son with Mac Culkin and Elijah Wood.
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