The only reason to see this silly film is to see singer Brenda Lee, famous for her hits such as "I'm Sorry," "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree," and many, many others. Unfortunately, she doesn't have much screen time, and she's clearly been stuck into this film as an afterthought.
There is one scene where Brenda sits by herself in her bedroom, thinking about her two missing brothers, and she sings a few sad lines of a song to a stuffed bear. It's almost a shock because, for a moment, you're actually moved. In the middle of this fantasy/comedy about the "hijinks" of two little boys who can turn themselves into bears, you're actually moved. But then, the film continues, and it's back to the nonsense.
She isn't very natural as an actress, but, give Brenda a song and she clearly knows what to do. Too bad she didn't get a better vehicle to show her talents.
Grammar school principal and father to three kids--none of whom look or sound alike--has to accept the fact that magic can happen when his two youngest boys change themselves into bears via an incantation borrowed from a trailer-park gypsy. Aside from the typical stereotyping of a nervous, hypocritical psychiatrist, there's nothing offensive about "The Two Little Bears"...indeed, it's as blithely innocuous and harmless as a sitcom from the early 1960s. Littered with famous faces and a familiar suburban scenario, the movie incorporates fanciful comedy and a little song into its mix; still, even trained bear cubs can only do so much, and the picture feels extremely thin at 83 minutes. Eddie Albert and Jane Wyatt are charming as the non-hysterical, low-keyed parents; Brenda Lee is their twangy-voiced teenage daughter (perhaps adopted?); and Donnie Carter and Butch Patrick are the boys (neither of whom are perceptive child-actors, though they are cute as a button). Lee sings (very well) and acts (not so well). Had Walt Disney made this movie, the teasing from critics never would have stopped. Since Twentieth Century-Fox made it--on a TV budget with TV actors--nobody paid any attention. ** from ****
TWO LITTLE BEARS (1962) bw-82m (20th Century Fox) Shown on Fox Movie Channel, c.04/03. After they unearthed the long lost JOHN AGAR film HAND OF DEATH (1961), this was probably next on my Fox most wanted list. BEARS has a super, widescreen Scope intro, but P&S for the rest. (But OK.) The Brenda Lee opening with lots of bears on set is surreal. BEARS starts off like a 50s sitcom. Eddie Albert (3 years B4 GREEN ACRES) is the dad and also the school principal. Mom (Jane Wyatt) seems to have wandered in off the set of FATHER KNOWS BEST. The plot mentions Winnie The Pooh. Brenda Lee uses her own, southern accent, but this is not explained. 3rd billed Soupy Sales has little more than a walk on as the town cop. Butch Patrick and his brother want to be real bears and have costumes that they fantasize in. This has their teacher upset. (Nancy Culp- soon to be Miss Hathaway on THE BEVERLY HILLBILLIES.) The boys put on their bear costumes and go to see the fake gypsies on the edge of town. They tell the boys they need a special salve to make them bears, but they are out of it right now. There is a brief, creepy Halloween night scene. Enter a grown up Jimmy Boyd ("I Saw Mama Kissing Santa Claus") as Lee's date. Now it's a musical as they sing teen love songs to each other. Boyd gives Lee a special present of a big jar of homemade freckle removing cream. (Though it's Boyd who has the most freckles!) The boys discover this and decide is the "magic bear salve". Amazingly, it works (!) or we'd have no movie. The boys turn into what looks like footage from a Castle 8mm Films home travelogue movie about bears. Bears scamper around with overdubbed voices. They invade a golfers lodge in the country, go down the chimney and eat stuff from the cupboard. Then they meet a Mama Bear (That I'm pretty certain is voiced by June Foray), that sort of adopts them. At one point she starts to tell a tale of "Goldilocks and the Three Humans" but there is an abrupt cut to the next scene. Was something cut out? It still runs longer than the time listed in TVM. "Pickle Relish" is used as a euphemism for cussing. No earth shaker, but worth seeing once. Side note: Butch Patrick (recently on E! Celebrity Date, c. 2003) makes his 3rd appearance here. First Butch Patrick was HAND OF DEATH, then PRESSURE POINT- Uncredited, as "Imaginary Playmate. Then, after BEARS, was in A CHILD IS WAITING w. Judy Garland- directed by John Cassavetes and with Billy Mumy! All in 1962.- from Mark Hill
I saw this movie in 1961 or 1962. I was too young to judge its quality. It wouldn't be hard for me to believe that it wasn't that good by adult standards but I liked it a lot as a kid. It was good to see Little Brenda Lee at her peak as a singer. I believe there were plans at that time to move her toward acting. As has been mentioned in other comments on this movie, there are several people in the cast who were quite noted at that time. This movie is a rare opportunity to see them.I would love to see it again but do not know of any sources for obtaining a copy. I'm curious as to how others have seen it.
The cast is about the only interesting thing in this unremarkable story of two boys that use magic and wishing to become bear cubs. Eddie (Green Acres) Albert, Jane (Father Knows Best) Wyatt, and Brenda (the singer) Lee perform their acting chores admirably, but the story line and script are just too thin. Scenes of the boys turning to bear cubs feature zee-roe special effects, this one was made in the 60s, but c'mon!! The supporting roles are gleaned from the Who's Who of TV...Jimmy (Mousketeer) Boyd, Nancy (Beverly Hillbillys) Kulp, and Soupy (pie-in-the-face) Sales among others. This might be a good one for the grandkids...just to show them what we had to put up with in the 50s and 60s.
"The Two Little Bears" is an exceedingly terrible film. It's a wannabee Disney movie that was made by 20th Century Fox in 1961. The special effects are poor. It has a very good cast whose talents weren't fully realized in this production. Soupy Sales is a very funny comedian but his humor wasn't utilized in this movie as Officer McGovern. Eddie Albert as Harry Davis (the father) was good in the film. Albert was in his early 50's when he played the role so he fit well into the character. The children, Butch Patrick and Donnie Carter in the film seemed to blasé and the names Timmy and Billy were so generic it's like the writers didn't even try. The child actors probably weren't seasoned enough as actors or maybe the script wasn't good enough for them to work with as material.
The film has a cheesy story line of two children that can wish themselves into becoming bear cubs. Their power to will themselves into bear cubs causes problems for their father played by Albert who is trying to get promoted as a principle at the school district that he works at. The film has a cheesy ending which is predictable. If the film were good I could have tolerated the cheesy ending.
This isn't a film that I would advice in purchasing or renting unless you are truly bored to death or are big admirers of the actors in it.
When Disney goes bad. If Disney didn't produce this, it should have. It was doing all those Shaggy Dog and Herbie movies at that time. This is just before Eddie Albert went over to the dark side and took the money for horrible TV spots like 'Green Acres'. He had done some quite good character acting in the past. Jane Wyatt is fresh from her long running papp with Robert Young 'Father Knows'. Brenda Lee pretends to be the butch Southern daughter. The kids are Disney kid regulars. Watch it if you're sick and want mindless TV on background. It's pretty sugary stuff. If you still believe in the Tooth Fairy, Santa Claus and leprachauns, enjoy.