An honest soldier receives a ruby whistle, a comparable dance, an unbeatable deck of cards and a magic sack for being kind to three beggars. He defeats a bunch of devils by playing cards and catches ...
A witch has set her eyes on the widower king and manages to turn his three young sons into ravens. Their sister escapes the curse and vows to remain silent for three years, three months, three weeks,...
In this off beat account of King Arthur's quest for the Grail, virtually every journey, battle or adventure is stopped dead in its tracks by the knights of the round table's most worldly ... See full summary »
Six friends join together to tell a story that becomes increasingly dangerous and frightening. When the events of their story begin to cross over between worlds, the lines between reality and fantasy are blurred.
The marriage of young, ambitious writer Nico Thomkins with Helen, coming from a rich family, is nothing more than a hardly concealed love-hate relationship. Because of Nico's aggressiveness... See full summary »
A variety of European folk tales are retold in nine new stories. A soldier captures Death in a magic sack. A fearless young man sets out to learn to shudder. A boy with a destiny that frightens a tyrant is sent on an impossible task that will see him wed the princess, or dead. A storyteller must spin tales to stay alive. A woman bears a hedgehog-child who grows up to live alone in a castle until he does a king a favor and gets the princess's hand in return. A princess must keep silent while she works to free her brothers from an evil spell. A princess runs away from wedding her father and disguises herself as an ugly forest creature. A young boy must overcome a heartless giant. A princess searches the earth for her stolen bridegroom. Written by
The number "3" features in every episode of the series:
The Soldier and Death - The Soldier helps 3 beggars and is rewarded each time. He also captures 3 geese the first time he uses the magic sack and later has of a family of 3 (wife, son, and Soldier).
Fearnot - Fearnot comes from a family of 3 (father, brother and Fearnot) and was tricked by 3 bullies early in the story. It takes 3 encounters before he finally learns how to shudder (encountering the swamp creature, the half-demon in the castle, and the thought of losing his sweetheart).
The Luck Child - Lucky survives 3 attempts on his life by the wicked King (thrown over a cliff, sent to the castle with a letter instructing the queen to kill him, and being sent to the Griffin's lair).
A Story Short - The Storyteller loses to the Beggar 3 times while playing dice. He loses his money, his wife and his own self.
Hans My Hedgehog - The Princess, after marrying the Grovelhog, learns he sheds his quills each night and she has to keep it a secret for 3 nights in order to break the curse. When she fails and he runs away, she searches the world and wears out 3 pairs of iron shoes in the process.
The Three Ravens - After the Princess's 3 brothers are transformed into ravens, she has to keep silent for 3 years, 3 months, 3 weeks, and 3 days to break the curse. She also gives birth to 3 sons after marrying the Prince, and speaks 3 minutes before noon (happening to call out 3 times) on the appointed day.
Sapsorrow - Youngest of 3 daughters, Sapsorrow commissions the making of 3 dresses to stall the arranged marriage with her father. She then wears those 3 dresses on 3 different nights to woo the Prince.
The Heartless Giant - Youngest of 3 princes, Leo tries to find the Heartless Giant that he released. On the way, he helps 3 animals (bird, fish and wolf) who later aid him. When Leo tries to find where the Giant's heart is hidden, he finds out on the third try.
The True Bride - Anja completes 3 tasks given to her by the troll (with the help of the Thought Lion). The Lion also gives her 3 walnuts with gifts hidden inside to barter with the Trollop.
When people told themselves their past with stories, explained their present with stories, foretold the future with stories, the best place by the fire was kept for... The Storyteller.
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Series as a whole - Jim Henson's best work. John Hurt *is* the Storyteller. Often Oscar-caliber screenplays, not surprising when you consider Minghella doing the writing. Oscar-caliber acting, always.
Sapsorrow - Everybody loves 'The Soldier and Death,' but something about 'Sapsorrow' pushes it an iota higher in my favor. In the first ballroom scene, the costumes, the music - perfection. Hurt and the dog typically semi-interact with the story, but this time Minghella pushes it up that extra notch in the 'ring' scene between Hurt and Sapsorrow. The chemistry between characters is especially well-developed, more so than usual in the series, in reference to the friendship between Straggletag and the prince. Seen it? See it again. Pay more attention (to those of you who don't fanatically adore this 22-minute piece of cinematic perfection). Never seen it? I am so, so sorry.
Luck Child - not as sophisticated as Sapsorrow, but very clever in its own right. This is a story about irony. Irony upon irony, within irony... I love it. Every character is acted to perfection, with the exception of the ferryman. He was doing drama; everyone else was doing romantic comedy. I forgive him. This is my favorite of the primarily comedic episodes, 'Sapsorrow' and 'The Soldier and Death' being examples of more dramatic episodes.
Side note: Greek Myths. What it lack in Minghella subtlety (different writer) it partially makes up for in boldness as it portrays the four chosen myths with more sympathy and respect and history than is usual. Also check out the Jim Henson Hour if you can get your hands on it. For Storyteller adicts, it features The Man Himself introducing the myths, the lion from 'True Bride,' and... No Annoying Opening Theme! Half Storyteller, half pure, unadulterated muppet wit.
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