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Jack and the Beanstalk (1965)

TV Movie  -   -  Musical  -  1965 (USA)
8.8
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Ratings: 8.8/10 from 12 users  
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This classic story climbs to new heights in this original adaptation conceived by the creative genius of Jim Eiler and performed by his very talented company of actors; The Prince Street Players.

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(book), (story)
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Title: Jack and the Beanstalk (TV Movie 1965)

Jack and the Beanstalk (TV Movie 1965) on IMDb 8.8/10

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Cast

Credited cast:
Will B. Able ...
Robert Dagny ...
The Black Baron
David Eaton ...
Beanstalk Person
Fred Grades ...
1 / 2 Betsy The Cow / Beanstalk Person
Graziella ...
Beanstalk Person
Dorothy Greener ...
Giant's Housekeeper
Hal Holden ...
John Joy ...
The Golden Harp
David Lile ...
Giant's Assistant
Robert Lussier ...
1 / 2 Betsy the Cow / Beanstalk Person
Joan Roberts ...
Mrs. Sprague
Marcie Stringer ...
The Golden Goose / Sprague Neighbor
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Storyline

Set in medieval England, this outrageous musical comedy turns a childhood favorite on its head as our boy Jack climbs the fabled beanstalk, only to find a friendly, lovable Giant and a tap-dancing Golden Goose. Along the way, he encounters his long-lost father (a victim of (what else?)amnesia) and a villainous Baron. Fresh, wacky and unexpected, Jack & The Beanstalk is sure to delight even the most jaded of audiences! Written by David Lile

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Musical

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Release Date:

1965 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

João e o Pé de Feijão  »

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User Reviews

 
Beans! Beans! The musical fruit!
11 August 2005 | by (Minffordd, North Wales) – See all my reviews

The Prince Street Players were a Manhattan children's-theatre troupe (of adult actors) staging musical versions of traditional European fairy tales, with scripts and songs written by Jim Eiler. Eiler's scripts tended to be straightforward retellings of the beloved classics, with very little modernisation or topical humour. (Unilike the panto versions that are popular in Britain, which insert modern references and comic business into the stories.) The troupe featured talented and personable performers, but the strongest asset of the Prince Street Players was the musical talent of Jim Eiler, who wrote catchy melodies and deft lyrics for each of his shows.

In 'Jack and the Beanstalk', the best song is given to young Jack, who explains his ambition in a solo number: 'I've gotta climb up, gotta climb up, climb up the beanstalk. I never have seen, never have seen, seen such a green stalk...' We get the usual plot line here: Jack Sprague (why not Sprat?) is the sole support of his widowed old mother, ever since Jack's father vanished one night. Now Jack barters Betsy the cow in exchange for some magic beans. The song about the magic beans is less successful than the one about the beanstalk: 'Beans! Beans! I have magic beans! I have magic...' 'HE has magic...' '...I have magic beans!' Beans, anyone?

A real drawback to any stage production of 'Jack and the Beanstalk' is the difficulty of casting a human actor in the role of the Giant. British pantos traditionally cast an extremely large man such as Freddie Mills in the role. (And the Goodies cast Alfie Bass as the smallest giant in the world.) Here, the Giant is played by Will B. Able, a talented performer who is an odd choice for the part, as he's not very intimidating in his demeanour, and is the same size as the adult actor (Hal Holden) who plays the boy Jack. (I once met Will B. Able; yes, that's his real name, and he kept a copy of his birth certificate handy in case anybody doubted him.) Able tries hard but is miscast in this villainous role.

VERY SLIGHT SPOILER COMING. This production is very enjoyable but has no surprises; perhaps that's a good choice, as it's intended for children. In the Giant's kingdom, Jack steals a magical harp and a goose that lays golden eggs. He also frees his father, who has been a prisoner of the giant all these years. They all get home happily, and Jack and his father sing a reprise of the beanstalk song. Maybe I don't know beans, but I'll rate this delightful production 9 out of 10, for Eiler's score and the talented cast.


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