|Index||3 reviews in total|
I love the "Faerie Tale Theatre" series! I finally obtained several
episodes last May through the z-shops at amazon.com. Among the fifteen
I have purchased "The Princess and the Pea" is one of my top three
(following "Little Red Riding Hood" at #1 and "Goldilocks and the Three
Bears" following in place at #3). Oscar-winner* Liza Minelli is PERFECT as
Princess Alicia and Tom Conti makes for a lovable, "mixed-up" Prince
Richard. Rounding out the cast are Tim Kazurinsky as the comic court Fool,
Oscar-winner* Beatrice Straight is delicious as the control-freak Queen
Veronica and Pat McCormick as the cuckoo-headed King Frederico (referred
his wife as "Fredicans"). A nice added touch is the opening and closing of
the film which takes place in a museum where McCormack and Straight play a
married couple who discover the famous pea inside a glass case and
Kazurinsky, playing a museum guard tells them the tale of how it became
famous. The costumes and sets are beautifully designed and the acting and
the script are 100% first rate!!! Although it is currently discontinued
video it is soon to be made available hopefully within a year or two. In
meantime, it can still be rented in video stores and I sincerely suggest
to anyone who has seen at least three episodes of this remarkable
*Minelli, 1972-Best Actress, "Cabaret"; Straight, 1976- Best Supporing Actress, "Network"
I finally obtained a copy of this extremely witty, wonderfully performed installment of Shelley Duvall's "Faerie Tale Theatre" series. It's great for kids and adults should enjoy it as well. Liza looks dynamite in the period costumes.
There is a lot to like about the 'Faerie Tale Theatre' series. Many of
their adaptations of various well-known and well-loved fairy tales are
charming, clever and sometimes funny, a few even emotionally moving.
'Faerie Tale Theatre' puts its own magical spin on the best of the
episodes while still capturing the essence of the stories, while also
giving further enjoyments in seeing talented performers in early roles
or in roles that are departures from their usual roles.
Although an absolutely lovely story and its popularity is justified, 'The Princess and the Pea' is somewhat slight and like some 'Faerie Tale Theatre' episodes on paper there was the worry as to whether the content would be enough to fill the just under an hour length. Also, as talented as Liza Minnelli is, if you saw other roles of hers she seemed an unlikely choice for the princess.
Needn't have worried however. All doubts as to whether "The Princess and the Pea" would work were cast aside very quickly. It worked brilliantly, completely agree that "The Princess and the Pea" was a complete delight and one of the best of the series.
"The Princess and the Pea" does do some expansion, but actually it contributed in giving the story and characterisation depth and nothing felt like padding at all. Everything had a point and nothing was unnecessary, avoiding all the potential pitfalls in adapting a slight story. "The Princess and the Pea" is a perfect example of putting its own spin on the original story while also capturing the basic details and spirit of it.
It looks good, with Minnelli's period costumes very pleasing on the eye. The sets and scenery are suitably picturesque and it's well photographed. The music is lush and jaunty.
Writing is some of the funniest of the entire series, with a lot of laugh-out-dialogue from particularly the King and Queen, without resorting to overuse of clumsy innuendo that would have spoilt things completely. Amidst the fun and humour though, the basic details and such are played straight, a good thing seeing as the fairy-tales that 'Faerie Tale Theatre' generally work better being played straight.
Minnelli is at her loveliest and her nuanced and entertaining performance is perhaps up there among his best. Tom Conti provides some priceless facial expressions and gestures that are in perfect keeping with the tone of the episode, without overdoing it. Beatrice Straight is an absolute hoot as the Queen and a joy to watch. Also enjoyed Pat McCormick, despite the King being written as a dolt (nowhere near as jarringly so though as the Giant in "Jack and the Beanstalk"). Nancy Allen avoids making her snobbish and stuck-up character annoying.
Overall, brilliant and one of the best of the series. 10/10 Bethany Cox
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