With brilliant imagination and technical wizardry, this 1954 feature film used stop-action animation, and hand-sculpted dolls and sets to create a fantasy land of unearthly beauty. Set to Engelbert Humperdinck's classic 1892 opera, sung by some of the most acclaimed performers of the 1950's, this recording was nominated for a Grammy Award. This may be the definative production of one of the greatest fairy tales ever told, and it is now on DVD. Written by
The stop-motion puppets were called "kinemins" by producer Michael Myerberg, who claimed they were controlled electronically. In truth, however, the only thing electronic was the electromagnetic plate that served as the floor of the sets and which kept the stop-motion figures in place. Interviews with Kermit Love and Don Sahlin, published in "Closeup" magazine #2, 1976. See more »
Enchanting version of Humperdinck's "Hansel and Gretel"
This version of "Hansel and Gretel" is, without a doubt, the finest adaptation of the classic children's story ever brought to the screen. It's set to the music of Humperdinck's immortal opera with the added attractions of storybook color, charming sets and stop-motion puppetry. It used to play on local network television throughout the 1960's as well as being re-released as a Saturday-Sunday Children's Matinée during that decade and in the 1970's, too. Now, it's been shown on the HBO, AMC and A&E channels and is available on both VHS and DVD (albeit, the DVD version available now (2005) is obviously transferred from a damaged VHS print). I distinctly remember this films original theatrical trailer being shown during afternoon television commercial breaks throughout the 1960's and 1970's when this film was reissued in cinemas. It would be great if someone could find that trailer and add it as a bonus feature to the next DVD reissue of this film (a reissue made from a good source, that is). I certainly realize that "Hansel and Gretel" is aimed at very small children (who are still enthralled by it), but I must admit that it is one of my guilty pleasures. Other reviewers have written that this film was probably made somewhere in Eastern Europe and that the choir singing in it is the Austrian Apollo Boys Choir. Not so! IMDb's info has "Hansel and Gretel" listed as being an American film (it also lists the films producer/director, Michael Myerberg, as being born in Baltimore, Maryland) and the credits pertaining to the films' choir don't read as "Vienna Apollo Boys Choir", they simply read as "Apollo Boys Choir". Notice how the boys who sang in that choir don't have foreign sounding accents? Also, this film was originally released by R.K.O. Radio Pictures according to the book "The R.K.O. Story". Therefore, I am sure that this version of "Hansel and Gretel" is absolutely an authentic American film.
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