Jack and the Beanstalk (1952) Poster

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very good Abbott and Costello movie
Christopher Mercurio15 August 2003
I've loved this movie since I was a little kid. I remember the night my mother brought this movie home for me. I loved it and I still do. I think it's very funny and original. There are also some very catchy tunes in this movie. Lou is also a surprisingly good singer. The actors that portray Prince Arthur and Princess Eloise are okay too, but Abbott and Costello are the best. Former heavyweight boxing sensation Buddy Baer, also brother of former heavyweight champion Max Baer is good in this movie as the cop and The giant. He's a better actor than boxer. He had a natural talent. The beginning of this movie is hilarious how Lou Costello keeps crashing the car and how he gets into trouble with Buddy Baer. The slapstick in the house is good too. I especially like the comedy in the Giant's castle. My favorite parts are; the part were Lou is climbing the beanstalk and they're all singing as a farewell. Jack is singing back to them that he'll return. Lou Costello is a very good at singing. My other favorite part is the part when Jack is fighting with the Giant. I like when Jack makes exploding eggs and when he tries to make the Giant an omelet they keep exploding. Abbott and Costello are hilarious and the greatest comedians of all time. This is only one of their great movies that I will love and cherish. The reviews for this movie aren't very good and I can't understand why. This is a very good Abbott and Costello movie. I also love how Lou Costello comes back to reality in the end and thinks he's back in the dream when Bud hits him. He starts singing his song and leaves with an attitude like no one is going to push me around. Very good movie.
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Wonderful bean-planting
Gerard Witts25 April 2004
I turn to this movie when I'm feeling down. My 5-year old niece (with no prompting from me) prefers it to any Disney you care to name. It's one of those movies that's so bad it's brilliant. And why Jack's Mother's line, uttered in sheer frustration, "Plant the Beans, Jack!" has not become a revered movie catchphrase I'll never know. I always shout "Plant the Beans, Jack!" at the Kiefer Sutherland character in "24", especially when he's a little slow on the uptake. Abbott and Costello's "Jack and the Beanstalk" is a little gem and does not deserve the criticism levelled at it on IMDB. The humour may be basic, the characters may be of the cardboard variety, but the director has managed to create a special little world that children and adults can enjoyable enter .
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A wonderful comic vehicle.
Kenneth Eagle Spirit12 January 2007
Abbott and Costello's talents shine in the happily childish version of "Jack and the Beanstalk". The use of sepia tone and colour, the music and choreography, song and dance, the crossing over of players from one role to another, plus various other aspects of this very fine movie make it obvious that techniques and styles used for "The Wizard of Oz" are being toyed with here. And that works right well for our intrepid duo. There are certain other things involved that make this movie a treat for me ... Buddy Baer's, Max Baer Jr. of "The Beverly Hillbillies" uncle, appearance as the cop and the giant. Pat Costello, Lou's brother, having been involved in the writing of the script. These things help make this film fun. It does, however, have it's down side. I do think that the choreography is poorly done. But the cute tunes and accompanying vocals help detract from the rather sloppy dance numbers. Some of the players, the couple in love ( prince and princess ) to be precise, aren't very good at their trade. But these things are a small price to pay for an otherwise throughly enjoyable walk down the yellow brick ... er, I mean ... climb up the beanstalk.
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Bud and Lou are Off to See the Giant...
moonspinner5522 March 2008
The often-told fable gets amusingly tweaked with Bud Abbott and Lou Costello in the leads, singing, dancing, and messing with a really nasty ogre. Opening in sepia tone, Bud and Lou somehow walk into a job as babysitters for a problem child; Lou wants a bedtime story read to him, quickly falling asleep and dreaming he and his mother live in a colorful storybook village, growing a magical beanstalk and attempting to rescue a kidnapped princess from a giant. Devised and co-produced by Lou's brother, Pat, this was an independently-financed production from the comedy duo which Warner Bros. distributed. It has some kooky songs and even kookier sequences (such as a masochistic Minuet between Lou and the giant's equally lanky female cook), but it does appear as a paste-up job. Filmed in just over three weeks, some of the scenes are so sloppy, one doesn't know if they were hastily left that way or if the clumsiness was perhaps intentional (the editing, too, is awful, leaving the cook and her cow behind in fantasy limbo). The sets, leftovers from Ingrid Bergman's "Joan of Arc", are fine, but the costumes are atrocious--hopefully, this venture scared Costello away from tights for the remainder of his life! It's kinda cute in a bumbling, ramshackle sort of way, and Lou gets a lot of funny business to do, but it isn't as imaginative as it should have been. ** from ****
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"He Shinnied Up The Stalk To Slay A Giant In His Den"
bkoganbing27 October 2007
Bud Abbott and Lou Costello always had a good following among children, but in their careers I think you could say that they only made one film that could be designated for kids. Jack and the Beanstalk was that one film.

It was part of a two picture independent deal from Warner Brothers, the second film being Abbott and Costello Meet Captain Kidd. These were the only two films the boys made in color.

The two of them, out of work as usual, take a job for a very precocious and obnoxious young David Stollery as a babysitter. Although it starts out with Costello wanting to read the kid, Jack and the Beanstalk as a bedtime story, the young lad winds up reading it to Costello. Lou falls asleep and in his dreams he fantasizes he's indeed Jack the Giant Killer.

Buddy Baer who menaced the boys in Africa Screams plays the giant and he's got a giant size Dorothy Ford as his housekeeper. Dorothy was a big girl, 6'2", and you can imagine she had some difficulty being cast except when her height was used as a joke. One of the only players who ever looked down at her was John Wayne in Three Godfathers at 6'4". Henry Fonda and James Stewart in On Our Merry Way also stood barely above her, but again her height was part of a gag.

Shaye Cogan and James Alexander were the princess and prince of the fantasy and they sang beautifully, but couldn't act worth anything. This was the last film of William Farnum who's career dated from the early silent screen days and even to the turn of the last century on stage. He played princess Shaye's father the king.

Some not terribly memorable musical numbers came from Jack and the Beanstalk, save the title song. I well remember as a kid having the 78 record of Bud and Lou singing the song and reciting the story. I was in my early single digit years, but became a lifelong fan of their's through that and their television series.

Jack and the Beanstalk is still a good children's picture for the very young, though I would warn parents to warn their little urchins not to imitate young master Stollery.
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The best of the team's fifties efforts
rdh718237317 July 2000
Abbott and Costello's "Jack and the Beanstalk" was the best of the team's fifties features. Shot around the same time as their television show, it represents one of the two color films they made in their career. The original photography was actually in Eastmancolor. The prints were made in the Super Cinecolor 3 strip process was was similar to Technicolor but grainier and difficult to focus due to the dual emulsion print stock. It looks as if the framing devise might have been filmed in Eastmancolor too but printed on B&W sepia toned stock. I used to watch this picture as a child in syndication and found it amusing and even charming. While a far cry from their pre-1948 movies, I give them a lot of credit for trying something different. The supporting players are fun with Buddy Baer (Jethro's dad) having a ball as the giant. The princess is played by Shaye Coogan who later became a pop singer. James Alexander popped up on their TV show too. One of the campy elements of the film is Johnny Conrad and his dancers who often out of synch during the songs. Consumers should be aware that there are three versions of the film put out by different companies due to it public domain statis. The uncut version was taped from a Preview print,contains extra scenes and runs approx. 82 min. It was released on laserdisc with extras. The standard release cut 78 minute version is also on tape. The cut scenes include a sequence of the butcher arguing with ladies in town and extended versions of the song, "Darlene" and "Dreamer's Cloth". It was re-issued by RKO in B&W in 1961 and used to played in syndication that way for many year. Good luck in hunting a complete version.
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A classic!
The duo of Abbott and Costello lives on in this version of a story-time classic. In "Jack and the Beanstalk", there's everything to see, music, magic, and comedy rolled into one. Costello play plays Jack after he listens to the story being told by a young boy one time. We know Jack was a poor boy who sells his cow "Dolly" for 5 magic beans. Well, he plants those 5 beans, and they were indeed, magic. He climbs to the sky, sees a big castle there, and he would sing a song, unknown he would encounter the giant(Buddy Baer). Not only him, he would dance with the woman who was also a giant. She would clobber Jack with her elbows during the dance. That was funny! You got the playing harp who knows how to put the giant as ease. The goose who lays golden eggs. And my favorite, the way Jack gets rid of the giant. He gets the ax, and started chopping down on the beanstalk. Another funny is where the ax got stuck during the chop, and the final celebration happens when the people dance around the imprint where the giant fell. A lot of fun, and fun for the whole family as well. Very recommended! 5 stars!
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Surprisingly entertaining movie for kids of all ages.
John (opsbooks)26 May 2004
Having read so much negative press on this movie over the years, I'd always avoided it, but the advent of the cheap public domain DVD encouraged me to finally give it a viewing.

Unfortunately, it's been transferred from a poor copy. The modern prequel, shot on tinted stock, is blurry and the contrast, non-existent. Faces are occasionally difficult to make out. Having said that, the actual story is entertaining and Lou comes across as an accomplished actor, more so than in many of the boys' movies.

Once the movie switches to the 'Jack' story, the film switches to 'colour' and I use that term loosely. Most hues are orange or brown. The greens look particularly bad.

Dorothy Ford as 'Polly', the giant's maid, was a big plus for me as I enjoyed her in an early 'Andy Hardy' appearance.

With so many negative comments put down to the actual quality of the print, I'm still happy to give this movie a 7. It gave me a lot of laughs and that's more than the greater majority of comedies I've watched over the decades can manage.

One to watch if you get the chance.
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The title should be Abbot and Costello meet Superbaby
padrepio150117 June 2004
I bought this DVD recently because it was a cheapy and I love A & C. I would say it is pretty funny and action packed if you look at it with the innocence of a child I think you will enjoy it more. If you look at it closely you will see Lou doing a lot (if not all )of his stunts himself which adds greatly to the enjoyment of the picture.The male and female leads are pretty bad and were no threat to Nelson Eddy and Jeanette MacDonald in the talent department but the girl is beautiful in a 1950's kind of way.As a big Superman fan , the biggest kick I got out of it is that the baby boy in the beginning of the picture is none other than baby Kal-el from the first episode of the George Reeves TV series "Adventures of Superman" entitled "Superman On Earth". I don't know what this baby's name was since he is not credited in either appearance but it's definitely the same tot.If he was born in 51 he would be in his early fifties now and I'm sure all Superman and A & C fans would like to know his name and what became of him. So if you are out there little Kal-el give a holler!By the way Betty Page fans will enjoy the tall actress who dances with Lou in the film.
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an interesting film
capricorn914 July 2006
Just purchased this film on DVD along with their Africa Screams for $4.99! While it does turn out to be the full 81 minute version it is a very bad print It is still worth having in a collection and a joy to watch. Abbott looks tired though but a surprise to see Costello jumping around and carrying on, although I know a lot of it was stunt work. The disc also has a cute trivia section and BIOS. The above review mentions the giant as Max Baer Sr (Jethro's father) but the IMDb lists him as Buddy Baer, Max's brother. Of course the change from sepia to colour is very reminiscent of Oz and watching it one could almost think it was made around the same time, but it's 1952!
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JACK AND THE BEANSTALK (Jean Yarbrough, 1952) **1/2
MARIO GAUCI28 December 2007
I had watched this previously (at secondary school, of all places!) and recall not liking it all that much. However, I was more amenable to it this time around – perhaps because it came hot on the heels of a similar film pitting a comedy act in a fairy-tale setting, i.e. the self-explanatory SNOW WHITE AND THE THREE STOOGES (1961); here, of course, it's Abbott & Costello we're talking about.

The film utilizes the sepia-into-color transition popularized by THE WIZARD OF OZ (1939) between its modern-day bookends and the period-set main narrative; less welcome are the entirely resistible love interest and musical numbers, seemingly compulsory ingredients of this type of family-oriented fare but which now date them most of all! As usually happens, too, most of the characters who appear in the fairy-tale also turn up in 'real life' – including, in this case, the Giant (played by Buddy Bear from the afore-mentioned SNOW WHITE AND THE THREE STOOGES) who also fills in for a burly cop whom the pint-sized Lou Costello aggravates!

The stars are amiable as always and manage to adapt their standard characterizations to the requirements of the familiar formula. Incidentally, this proved to be the boys' fourth of five films with director Yarborough – and one of only two A&C vehicles to be made in color (the other being the similarly adventurous ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEET CAPTAIN KIDD [1952]). Atypically for them, this was not a Universal production – but rather an independent one distributed through Warner Bros., which explains its public domain status!

Finally, I really ought to spring for those four "Abbott & Costello" DVD collections from Universal one of these days – plus I still have a handful of filmed fairy tales/children's classics to go through during this Christmas period...
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Jack and the Beanstalk a rare treat
MarkusK8 August 1998
Although copies of this movie are hard to find, if you can find it, get it!! !!! I believe this was, aside from In The Navy, Abbott and Costello's only musical. Although they twisted the plot around a little, (I've never heard a version where the butcher goes up with him), you still enjoy the antics of the slightly idiotic but lovable Jack, and the greedy butcher, Mr. Dinklepuss. Slightly reminiscent of DuBarry Was a Lady, this uproarious film will have you rolling on the floor - only to get up and dance as Lou Costello sings. (I don't know why they didn't do that in other films.)
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So bad it's good
lastmidnite26 December 2009
I watched this last night for the first time in 40 years. It's bad. Really bad. But it has enough hilariously awful moments, that it's worth watching. First of all, was it deliberate to make the boy being babysat completely effeminate? He even says to Costello a la Mae West "you fascinate me!" as Costello does a double take. God only knows what would have have happened if the babysitter had been a hunk. THIS kid would have seduced him in a heartbeat! Then there's the principal male dancer. He is totally inept. Roar with laughter as he leaps and prances with no talent whatsoever over the giant's grave during He Never Looked Better in His Life. The two romantic leads are zeros, wastes. Abbott gets to sing one line and that was dubbed in by another singer. Geez, I guess he couldn't even carry a tune! Costello does manage to be charming in his I Fear Nothing number, and I guess very small children might like it, but there's not much to recommend it. But oh that seductive effeminate boy! THAT aspect alone blew me away! Plus the fact the family accepted anyone off the street with no references to babysit a child! Today, little femmy boy would be taken away from them!
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The March of the Wooden Soldiers Tradition Continues
dizozza25 November 2004
For one thing, today is Thanksgiving morning and this is the movie we saw, a holiday broadcast as it was when we were children, only it is today under the name Turner. It's one of His classic movies and it looks like he has a brilliantly colored 78 minute version (I read some of the other comments herein).

It IS a comic masterpiece anticipating the Saturday Night Live humour of John Belushi meeting Robert DiNero. The campy feeling of improvisation permeated the film. You knew they were having a great time. They unleash a sexy combination of horror and comedy.

As silly as this may sound, the fact remains, this is the definitive film adaptation of the davey and goliath Jack and the Beanstalk story. For further exploration of such, may I refer you to the musical theatre of "Into the Woods."
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Abbott & Costello's version of the story
Leofwine_draca26 June 2017
Warning: Spoilers
JACK AND THE BEANSTALK is an all-colour, vibrant, cheap and cheerful version of the fairy tale, and also a vehicle for comic duo Abbott & Costello and their usual brand of dim-witted, slapstick humour. This one's dominated by Costello who takes on the role of Jack himself while Abbott only plays in support. It's a dated production for sure, lacking the finesse of an earlier production such as Laurel & Hardy's BABES IN TOYLAND, although there are a few choice moments. The song and dance numbers are quite difficult to sit through, but a lot of the entertainment value arises from Buddy Baer's turn as the Giant, portrayed as an unstoppable, TERMINATOR-style villain.
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You Would Prefer Maybe Jack the Giant Slayer?
johcafra8 June 2013
C'mon, lighten up. This was for the kids in the matinée.

Even when he acts in character Bud is the consummate straight man.

Lou looks like he enjoys himself. He sings quite well. He and Buddy Baer (not quite a giant but close enough to count) do their own stunts.

The musical score is excellent, with lyrics at times both thoughtful and hilarious.

Mel Blanc and Arthur Shields lend their voices. Dorothy Ford lends her unique perspective.

Of course it looks like a cartoon. It was supposed to.

You can't get the genius of "Who's On First?" in every clip of a very long-running vaudeville act.

For the very young at heart.
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Worth recording for a new generation
Randy Cliff22 September 2007
For us, an Abbott and Costello movie is something you have to be in the mood for. I'm very happy I recorded this -- my wife remembered it from when she was young, but I had never seen it. The family wanted to watch something not too serious before bed and this was selected.

Our daughter has watched many of the old movies with us -- always complaining in the beginning, but most often coming around. She mostly ignored this in the beginning, preferring to check her email, but she started enjoying herself -- many times laughing out loud to the zaniness.

It's wonderful to think you can have a fun evening with a 55yr old. The mono-colour introduction that blends into the full-colour fairy tale. It's a fun twist of a story that everyone is familiar with, that includes a little song and a little dance, along with everything you expect Lou and Bud to delivery.

Watch it with your children and have a very fun evening!
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climbing ever upward
Lee Eisenberg13 August 2005
So I guess that Bud and Lou just liked to mess with classic stories (although they did have some interesting results). In this case, they're baby-sitting a bad boy, and Lou tries to read him "Jack and the Beanstalk" but falls asleep and dreams that he's Jack and Bud's the butcher, and they climb the beanstalk to rescue the prince and princess from the giant (Buddy Baer).

I think that my favorite scene was when Lou was trying to make the giant an omelet, and...well, I'll let you see what happens. As this was an Abbott and Costello movie, they did have a few unnecessary songs, but other than that, it was pretty funny. For other interpretations of the classic story, "Bewitched" and "Gilligan's Island" both had episodes portraying it.
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Bud and Lou in the Land of the Giants
JoeytheBrit1 October 2005
The trivia section of this film states that it was part of a two-picture independent deal and was 'Lou's film' while the second, presumably, was to be Bud's. The fact that Costello enjoys the larger amount of screen time, is a more heroic character than Abbott's scheming butcher, receives fewer trademark face-slaps from his partner, and gets to dance with Amazonian beauty Dorothy Ford seems to bear this out. It almost plays like a vanity project at times and, while Costello is as good as he ever was, the film is ultimately disappointing.

Bud and Lou play a couple of babysitters to a precocious boy and, while the boy reads the story of Jack and the Beanstalk to a semi-literate Lou, the chubby comedian falls asleep and dreams himself into the story. During this framing device, the film is in a sepia tone but switches to colour for the fairy tale sequence in the style of The Wizard of Oz. The budget seems to have been miniscule for this effort, the special effects are mostly second-rate, and the editing is decidedly choppy at times. The colour has faded on the print I watched so that, every now and then it has that washed-out green tint to it which is a shame, because the decision to film in colour was a good one. The fantastical nature of the story lends itself to bright and bold colours. It also requires a bold and colourful hero but our Jack is short and chubby and the 'prince' in the tale, played by James Alexander, is an insipid chap who does nothing apart from mangle the song 'Darlene' which he sings to imprisoned Princess Eloise (Shaye Cogan – who, it has to be said, is a real hottie). The comedy is typical of their stuff from around this period – not as good as their material from the forties, or from their brief resurgence after this film was made – but too often it has to step aside for the romantic interludes. There are way too many songs, especially for a kid's comedy film, although the lyrics in some are admittedly quite humorous: 'I'll be defiant and obstreperous should the giant try to salt-and-pepper-us," sings Costello, unaware of course that the giant, in the form of ex-boxer Buddy Baer, is standing behind him. This one might keep undemanding kids entertained, but Abbott and Costello devotees will be disappointed.
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Pretty poor outing despite the `big bright colours'™
bob the moo8 September 2002
Abbott and Costello get a job as a babysitter for a difficult kid. While Costello is reading the story `Jack and the Beanstalk', he drifts off and starts to dream of himself as Jack in this version of the famous fairy tale.

I do enjoy a GOOD Abbott & Costello film, but I'm not a big enough fan to totally enjoy a BAD Abbott & Costello film. This ranks to me as one of their lesser efforts for several reasons. The set up is a lift of the b&w/Technicolour idea from Wizard of Oz, except it doesn't work as well here. The black and white is a terrible washed out yellow. Maybe it was just the print I saw but it really made it hard to watch.

The actual plot is the fairytale with comedy and songs. My main problem was that the songs were too frequent and pushed out a lot of comedy. The comedy that was there was also pretty weak with very basic jokes. The funniest stuff often revolves around A&C's chemistry and it felt like they shared very little time together on screen. I can imagine that this film was sold as `A Technicolour Adventure' rather than an A&C film – the focus seems to be on musical numbers and big bright colours.

Abbott and Costello themselves are good when given the chance and to be fair Costello isn't a half bad singer – but is this really what we want to see him do? The rest of the cast are the usual B-movie actors that fill up the support role and look `beautiful' if required (Alexander for example).

Overall it has a few moments that I found funny but to be honest this to be pretty low in terms of Abbott and Costello films I've seen. If you dislike A&C then you'll think they spoil `a technicolour adventure'. If you do like them then you'll wish that we had more (and better) comedy and less of this singing and swinging nonsense.
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Costello, Bring Me The Ax!
wes-connors21 March 2010
In need of work, straight man Bud Abbott (as Jack) and comic partner Lou Costello (as Dinkel) get the latter a job babysitting self-described "problem child" David Stollery (as Donald). Young Stollery winds up reading Mr. Costello's favorite novel (see if you can guess the title), which puts Costello to sleep, dreaming he and Mr. Abbott are reliving the story of "Jack and the Beanstalk" (you guessed it).

The sepia-tone switches to color for the bulk of the production. Apparently, this was an attempt at something different for the duo, a colorful children's fantasy. It fails, but this is where you get to see Abbott & Costello in color, silent film superstar William Farnum (as the King) make his last performance a bit part, boxer Max Baer's brother Buddy, and Stollery before Disney's "Spin and Marty".

** Jack and the Beanstalk (4/4/52) Jean Yarbrough ~ Lou Costello, Bud Abbott, Buddy Baer, William Farnum
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A Mildly Amusing Diversion
sddavis6315 January 2009
I'm not really much of an Abbott & Costello fan (although I do enjoy "Who's On First") and, to be honest, there wasn't much in this movie that would inspire me to watch any more of their work. It wasn't really bad. It had some mildly amusing scenes, and actually a very convincing giant played by Buddy Baer, but somehow, given the fame of the duo and the esteem in which they're generally held, I have to say I was expecting more. As the story goes, the pair stumble into a babysitting job, and during the reading of Jack & The Beanstalk as a bedtime story (with the kid reading it to Costello), Costello's Jack falls asleep and dreams himself into the story. There's a "Wizard Of Oz" kind of feel to the story, in that the characters in the dream are all the equivalents of real-life acquaintances of Jack, and the movie opens in black & white and shifts to colour during the dream sequence. The fight scenes between Jack and the giant and the dance scene between Jack and Polly (Dorothy Ford) are among the amusing parts of the movie. Polly, of course, also leads to one of the questions of the movie - what happened to her? Jack and gang apparently left her behind in the giant's castle! I know - it was just a dream, so who cares. Still - I wondered. There were also a couple of cute song and dance routines. My 4 year old giggled a bit during this, so she was able to appreciate some of the humour. I found it to be an acceptable timewaster, but certainly not anything that would convince you of Abbott and Costello as comic geniuses. 4/10
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Was this based on an earlier, fairy-tale film?
corporalko20 May 2018
Bud Abbott and Lou Costello got a lot of good publicity as a comedy team in their time. But, in my opinion, Abbott was not funny -- strictly a straight man -- and Costello wasn't as funny as many people thought he was. This movie is typical of those facts. There is no particular connection or empathy between Bud and Lou, and Abbott is seldom on screen for the allegedly funny scenes. And Costello's tortured facial expressions at moments of "stress" are often unpleasant, not funny, to look at. With the "Middle Ages" costumes and atmosphere, and the totally forgettable singing and dancing, this movie appears to be an attempt to mimic the 1934 Laurel and Hardy feature, "Babes in Toyland." If so, it is a very failed attempt. Stan and Ollie fit together without a seam showing. Bud and Lou did not.
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Sing until the cow comes home
Prismark109 May 2018
The moral of Jack and the Beanstalk is: If your son is an idiot, do not send him out on his own to conduct important commercial transactions!

As a young child I liked Bud Abbott and Lou Costello. Still only a child but now a few years older I concluded they were really not that funny.

The version of the film I saw was of a poor picture quality, it certainly needs to be restored. Lou is babysitting a kid, reads him a bedtime story and falls asleep. He dreams of the Jack and the Beanstalk story where he plays Jack, the gruff policeman is the giant and Bud is the butcher.

The adventure transforms from monochrome into Technicolour but the thin story is padded out by wretched song and dance numbers.

Lou does his knockabout comedy, Bud is not in it a lot. There are few good jokes but it is infernal stuff.
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Villagers and royalty vs.an Ogre high in the sky
weezeralfalfa21 September 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Clearly this adaptation of the classic fairytale has a number of basic similarities to the prior 1939 "The Wizard of Oz" The dream portion takes place high up in the sky, where there is a scary person or 2 that rules the land. Sepia or B&W film is used for the non-dream portions at the beginning and end.(I much prefer the B&W choice over sepia for the present film. Both are available at YouTube). A number of musical numbers are included, some with dance, some individual, others group sings. Certainly, those from "The Wizard" are more memorable.

In this version, a number of people besides jack either climb the beanstalk, or are captured by the giant. This includes Abbott, as Mr. Dinklepuss, who climbs the beanstalk with Lou, as Jack. Princess Eloise (Shaye Cogan) and Prince Arthur(James Alexander)who were captured. Also, Polly(Dorothy Ford), who serves as the giant's maid, and presumably was captured as well. As in "The Wizard of Oz", all these characters are based on people Jack(or Dorothy) knew.

In this version (there have been many versions in the details), the nameless giant(played by Buddy Baer) stole Jack's chicken who lays golden eggs, as well as the cow Jack exchanged for 5 magic beans from Dinkel. Just how the giant managed to descend to earth without a magic beanstalk and transport the cow plus the people up to his sky kingdom is not considered. Later, he needed the beanstalk to descend. Abbott and Costello begin as supposed babysitters for a Denice-the-Menace-type boy(Donald) and his infant sister. Lou is supposed to read "Jack and the Beanstalk" to Donald, but he stumbles in his reading, so they decide to reverse roles. Lou falls asleep and has this dream. At the end of the film, when Lou is awakening, he says "crown me", meaning the king put a crown on his head. Well, Donald 'crowns' him with a porcelain pitcher!

A funny sequence is when Jack mixes some gunpowder in with the chicken feed. When he cooks their eggs, they explode like firecrackers. A&C are standing next to each other, and Lou notices that his shadow is notable longer than Abbott's, despite Abbott's greater height. Turns out the giant is standing behind Lou.

After Prince Arthur sings the romantic ballad "Darlene" to Darlene(also known as Princess Eloise), he later sings another romantic ballad to her: "Dreamer's Cloth", and she responds in kind. Costello and Polly also dance to this tune. At 6'2" in bare feet, Polly looked ridiculous dancing with 5'5" Lou. In one segment, she kept bopping his head with her rotating elbows and otherwise jarring his head. Funny. Remember, she was serving as the giant's maid. Thus, before the others showed up, the household consisted of 2 giants, as ex-boxer Buddy Baer, who played the giant, was 6'7".

The giant gives Abbott the job of putting his magic hen and jewels away. Bad idea. Abbott and Prince Arthur conspire to steal these, which they eventually succeed at. But Abbott loses them on the way down the beanstalk, the villagers below gathering them.

The title song: "Jack and the Beanstalk" is sung during the credits, when Jack and Dinkelpuss begin climbing the magic stalk, and in the finale, when the people arrive from the beanstalk. In the finale, the villagers also sing "He Never Looked Better in his Life", in reference to the now deceased giant.

On the whole, this is one of the more interesting A&C films I've seen, especially suitable for children. The musical scenes fit in well with the rest of the screenplay, and there is a good amount of A&C-style humor. Lou's brother,Pat, wrote the screenplay and served as executive producer of this independently produced film.
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