Escape to Witch Mountain (1975) Poster

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  • Escape to Witch Mountain (1968) is a young adult novel written by American science fiction writer Alexander Key. The novel was adapted for the movie by screenwriter Robert M. Young. A sequel, Return from Witch Mountain (1978), was released in 1978. It was followed by a made-for-TV sequel, Beyond Witch Mountain (1982), in 1982. A TV remake of Escape to Witch Mountain (1995) was released in 1995, and another remake, Race to Witch Mountain (2009), is planned for release in 2009.

  • Tia (Kim Richards) and Tony (Ike Eisenmann) Malone come from another planet, one with two suns. Their ship crash-landed in the water and only they survived. They were subsequently adopted by the Malones.

  • Tony tells Mrs Grindley (Reta Shaw) that he was five and Tia was three when they were adopted by the Malones. It is now six years later, so Tia must be nine and Tony 11.

  • Tia's memories, which get clearer and clearer throughout the movie, are of a boat that capsized, dumping her, Tony, and another man in the ocean. Later, she remembers that she and Tony were rescued by a fishing trawler and taken to shore by Captain Malone. She thinks that the other man, whom she begins to recognize as their Uncle Bené, might have drowned. She also remembers that there were other ships and other people and that they came from another place and, at first, didn't speak English. Eventually, she and Tony piece it all together -- they're from a dying planet in another solar system with two stars, hence the star case with the double stars on the lid.

  • Jason O'Day (Eddie Albert) wasn't really mean inside, as Tia could easily see. He simply chose not to give his love to anyone else following his wife's death only a few months after they were married.

  • With Deranian (Donald Pleasence), Bolt (Ray Milland), and the entire Longview County police force looking for them, Tony, Tia, and Jason make it to Stony Creek where they stop at the Misty Valley Cooperative. No one is there, so they wait—and wait. Tony sees a phone book and calls the Mr. Castaway listed in it. It's a direct line to his people, who assure them that they have a plan to get Deranian and Bolt off their backs. Tony is advised to get out the back door and get back in Jason's camper. They drive away, but Deranian and the police follow them in cars while Bolt follows in a helicopter. A few car wrecks later, the camper flies into the air where it travels alongside Bolt's helicopter. The camper lands in a field, and Uncle Bené (Denver Pyle) comes walking out from behind a clump of trees. After thanking Jason for his help and informing him that there are more children out there like Tia and Tony, Uncle Bené takes Tony and Tia off in a spaceship just as Bolt's helicopter lands upside down and Deranian drives up. Flabbergasted, Deranian says, "I should have known there was more than ESP to those two," and drives away. Still holding Winkie, Tia's cat, Jason says, "Well, they're home now," as the spaceship disappears into the mountains.

  • Those who have both seen the movie and read the book say that the book is radically different in tone from the light-heartedness of the movie, although the premise is the same: two children from another planet crashland on earth, their special powers making them a target for a greedy man who wants to control them. One major difference is that the kids are befriended by Father O'Day, a priest who has lost much of his faith in mankind, rather than Jason O'Day, a retired man who has lost much of his faith in mankind. Because of this, the book has religious undertones that are not part of the movie. There are also anti-Communist undertones in Key's story, as the children's spaceship is shot down over Hungary by Communists, who subsequently imprison them. Tia and Tony escape the Communists and make it to a Spanish boat that is supposed to take them to America. When they arrive in America, however, Mr Deranian takes possession of them and gives them to an elderly lady they called Granny Malone to raise.

    Also in the book, Tia and Tony are older, and they are not blond and blue-eyed; rather they have pale hair, olive skin, and eyes that are almost black. Because of their unusual looks and their psychic powers (telekinesis, clairvoyance, super-hearing, etc.), they are often the target of suspicion and ridicule. Although both children can communicate with each other silently, Tia is mute. (That's why she carries the star case; she keeps pencil and paper in it so she can write notes to people.) Tony later remembers that most of their people couldn't talk, and that he was one of the few who could. When Granny Malone died (hit by a taxi), they were sent to Hacket House, a grim orphanage/detention center run by the equally grim Mrs Grindley. The big baddie in the book is Deranian, not Bolt. He wants to take the children to France so that he can extract from them the secrets to their powers, so they run away, hoping to make it to the house of a friend of Fr O'Day in Stony Creek, somewhere in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Their flight leads them to Witch Mountain where, like in the movie, they are reunited with their people.


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