Inventor Gepetto creates a wooden marionette called Pinocchio. His wish for Pinocchio to be a real boy is unexpectedly granted by a fairy. The fairy assigns Jiminy Cricket to act as Pinocchio's "conscience" and keep him out of trouble. Jiminy is not too successful in this endeavor and most of the film is spent with Pinocchio deep in trouble.Written by
Tim Pickett <email@example.com>
This is one of, if not the only, Disney film to feature multiple main villains. The first villain(s) Pinocchio encounters is Honest John and his assistant Gideon. The second main villain is Stromboli, the third (although Pinocchio never meets him personally) is The Coachman who took the children to Pleasure Island and the final one is Monstro. See more »
When Jiminy inspects his image reflected in a copper pot, it is reflected as magnified. Images reflected off convex surfaces are reduced in size. See more »
[after singing "When You Wish Upon a Star"]
Pretty, huh? I'll bet a lot of you folks don't believe that, about a wish comin' true, do ya? Well, I didn't, either. Of course, I'm just a cricket singing my way from hearth to hearth, but let me tell you what made me change my mind.
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None of the actors in this film are credited. See more »
The 1954 re-release marked the last time the film was distributed by RKO. After that, it was replaced by the logo for Buena Vista Distribution Co. (Disney's in-house distribution arm). The 1993 VHS release and 1999 DVD features the Buena Vista logo. However, the overseas DVD release in 2003, the Platinum Edition DVD and Blu-ray releases in 2009 and the Walt Disney Signature Collection DVD and Blu-ray releases in 2017 restored the original RKO logo. But both versions include reissue credits, as reference to Technicolor should have read "in Technicolor" but not just "Technicolor". See more »
Eerie and bizarre early Disney animation that delivers principally through its ambiguous atmosphere and world in which it's set.
Pinocchio seems to be a film about dreams; about people who can become something that in the real world they cannot; about achievement, but not on an ordinary level. This is best highlighted throughout the film when events and themes of real life situations such as having to go to school and having to carve a trade (in the toy making business, in this case) are counter balanced with walking, talking foxes and magical fairies coming down from the sky. The best thing about the film is that it manages to set the film in an ordinary and everyday village located within the Alps mountain range and yet incorporates these elements of the bizarre and of the unnatural seamlessly.
The scene that best highlights this is when Pinocchio himself is running to school and Hounest John (Catlett) notices the wooden puppet in question doing exactly that. He stops, thinking it very odd and intervenes. And yet I suppose nobody is supposed to batter an eyelid if they themselves saw a fox walking down the street with a top hat and cigar. So if the film could be about dreams in the sense Pinocchio's father Geppetto (Rub) wants a son and Pinocchio himself (Jones) wants to be a 'real boy' then the film certainly recognises this and compliments the theme with a number of bizarre and surreal scenes that even today, very much work on a level of recognition and respect but also surrealism.
The creepiest thing the film has going for it throughout is the manner in which it gives animals such as Figaro the cat, Cleo the goldfish and Monstro the whale such humane characteristics. Figaro is able to understand Geppetto's English and display certain reactions but is not able to reply; Cleo is able to become aware of what's going on around her despite being inside a bowl and is able to display all the necessary human emotions of panic, fear and is able to blush when necessary situations arise. Monstro the whale is a beast displaying copious amounts of greed and sloth in the sense he sleeps and eats whenever one of the instincts takes over and is able to identify the a certain character's boat before unleashing a wrath of anger.
This idea is actually toyed with by the film later on in one of the more bizarre sequences during which human beings turn into animals, those being donkeys, and it's this scene that stays with most people. This is most probably because the boundaries between animal with human instincts and human with human instincts (albeit the want to smoke and drink) are blurred resulting in human characters becoming animals and submitting to the lowly 'braying' noise donkeys make as they sit in their cages, beaten and consequently submissive. What's quite interesting here is Pinocchio's overall characteristic in the sense he is wooden and thus; being a 'real' boy or a 'real' human as it were further brings attention to the film's study of the escapist-come-realist universe.
As a study of character, Pinocchio's is the most emphasised. As a character, he is new to the world and naïve as a consequence; failing to spot evil and wrong-doers no matter how obvious. He even has the manners to shout 'goodbye' to one of his oppressors, thus risking re-capture. If the film is about things and animals that 'come alive' and perform beyond their capabilities, it is fitting the protagonist's quest should revolve around becoming something he is not and this acts as a further example of transgression. If we analyse most of the other boys at the doomed fair ground and look at their transgression into another being, it can be read into quite obviously that cigars, beer and hustling take you one way: the salt-mines or the circus (as printed on the donkey's cages) but resisting the urge and listening to a conscience or generally not taking to the temptation will lead you to be a 'real' boy, then onto a 'real' man since after boyhood comes manhood.
This is Disney's morality tale and it's the sort of material that is always going to be bleak no matter who takes it on, cartoon or no cartoon. But Disney's attention to animation is also key, having their antagonists come across as large, booming men in Stromboli and the Coach Driver (both Judels) and having Hounest John a fox; an animal most animated films since would have you think the sliest and slimiest animal of them all; this film may well have broken that particular mould. I also liked the manner in which the antagonistic figures smoked their cigars, creating shapes and bizarre circles with their smoke whereas Pinocchio himself on the other hand can barely smoke it right and consequently goes green, the beginning of a short stint whilst under the influence of Marijuana, given that the Marijuana symbol is in his mouth following a botched pool shot.
In terms of aging, the film is faultless on the animation side. The painstakingly slow process of each frame can only be marvelled at and with computers doing more of the films nowadays, the marvelling will definitely continue. I don't like the character accents and the issues I have with type casting involve Stromboli being an unnecessarily oddball Italian and his show comprising of all the clichés you'd expect with Russians, French and Dutch puppets complete with stereotypical imagery. But the film remains powerful and eerie at other times, even if it is down to the oddball mesh of a universe it is set. This is no doubt an impressive film.
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