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The Pied Piper
The Pied Piper
Actors: Donovan, Jack Wild, Donald Pleasence, John Hurt
Director: Jacques Demy
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Kids & Family, Music Video & Concerts, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Musicals & Performing Arts
G     2008     1hr 31min

The Pied Piper is director Jacques Demy's masterful retelling of the classic children's tale. Set in the Middle Ages, the divided town of Hamelin tries in vain to rid itself of the black plague. When a mysterious musician ...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Donovan, Jack Wild, Donald Pleasence, John Hurt
Director: Jacques Demy
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Kids & Family, Music Video & Concerts, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Musicals & Performing Arts
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Family Films, Music Artists, Classic Rock, Fantasy, Musicals
Studio: Legend Films
Format: DVD - Color,Full Screen,Widescreen
DVD Release Date: 07/01/2008
Original Release Date: 01/01/1972
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/1972
Release Year: 2008
Run Time: 1hr 31min
Screens: Color,Full Screen,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 2
MPAA Rating: G (General Audience)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Randy Emmett | michigan, usa | 07/14/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"First, I would like to say that this movie has a 'British' rating of G. Their ratings are a bit different than American and this movie may be a bit off-putting for younger children (there is a seen where rats have eaten the faces of some people in a cottage and a burning - not graphic - at the stake).
But the important thing about this movie, is that is really a great retelling of The Pied Piper. Although, the acting is surprisingly stiff considering the calibur of actors, the scenes are realistic for the times. Filmed in Germany, itself, the countryside is gorgeous. The costumes are really funny, especially the hats!!
Donovan does two really pretty songs, but this is not a musical by any means. He plays a small role, even though he is the Pied Piper (and he plays a real guitar instead of lute). Jack Wild does the best acting job (a very underrated actor). He plays the crippled boy who is left behind. But unlike the written version, where the boy is crying "wait for me!", Jack's character is on the verge of becoming a man and realizes that he has a new life ahead of him and accepts being left behind.
Unless you know the real story, it is not really clear why the Piper takes all the children and it ends without the adults realizing the children are even gone.
This is a more adult-centered version of 'The Pied Piper', and the story and the color are well worth the price, even if only for the historical value of a young Donovan, the late Jack Wild and a celebration of the 70s!"
Odd But Good
Brian P. Nestor | Raleigh, NC USA | 04/18/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Not what you'd expect, this movie comes off as something between "The Seventh Seal" and "Monty Python & the Holy Grail". And that's a good thing! Perhaps the strangest 'children's movie', with a grim and cold style, moments of horror, a distant and creepy Donovan floating through the movie not being the nicest singer in the world, not to mention the dirt, filth and grime. Add the Plague, a child bride, and one of the good guys getting burned at the stake - not to mention a very ambiguous ending - and it would be a rare child indeed who wouldn't be traumatized by this film.

However, if you've ever read 'The Brother's Grim', you might recognize the authenticity. This ain't no Disney version! There are some great actors involved, especially Donald Pleasant and Michael Hordern. Even Donovan has the right 'vibe' for the story. The whole thing has an early 70's feel, where anything can happen, and to some degree it does.

This is much better than "The Model Shop". I suspect the director was more comfortable in medieval Germany than in hip Los Angeles. Add great costumes, good songs, and excellent acting, and you get a pretty unique experience. If you are up for something a little different - something that certainly could never be made today, with no happy ending - this movie could be very entertaining and memorable"
Neither musical nor children's film but a grim fable
Trevor Willsmer | London, England | 07/13/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)

"Jacques Demy's The Pied Piper is neither musical (though there are three songs) nor children's film, more an almost resigned fable about the foibles of human nature. The Piper isn't even the main character. Rather it's an ensemble piece, with the town of Hamelin, with all its pettiness and everyday corruptions, that takes centerstage. It's the kind of film that could only have been made in the 70s, set in a vividly realised medieval world that at times threatens to make Monty Python and the Holy Grail look glamorised, though it doesn't revel in the filth or the grotesque. Aside from the travelling players, almost everyone is out for whatever they can get - even Donovan's piper, for all his hippie folkie songs (and there are only three of them) wants a thousand gilders for a spot of pest control he knows won't prevent the plague from coming to Hamelin, while Donald Pleasance's baron won't pay up because he's bankrupting himself buying his way out of Hell by building a cathedral for the Church. The Church would much rather he provided them with troops for another civil war ("The Pope wants a new emperor because the emperor wants a new Pope."). Even the nominal love interest is far from a Disney princess, but the Burgomaster's bored young daughter bartered to the baron's callous son (John Hurt) for political power by her father (Roy Kinnear) and for a bit of adultery with the husband-to-be by her mother (Diana Dors). It's not so much a portrait of superstition versus reason as one of superstition versus superstition with the hint of the seed of reason that may take generations to flower: as Michael Hordern's Jewish alchemist tells his inquisitors, where once he had hoped the world would learn from his discoveries, now he can only hope the world learns from their mistakes.

The film isn't entirely successful by any means, but it's constantly fascinating and even manages not to seem as clumsy as most Euro-puddings - in this case an English picture (one of David Puttnam and Sandy Lieberson's first) directed by a Frenchman and shot in Bavaria on some excellent locations - probably because it keeps the cast almost entirely British so there's no jarring clash of accents. Donovan's not exactly a great actor but he's mostly harmless as the Piper (although his wardrobe isn't terribly pied), though he's infinitely less hopeless than Patsy Puttnam in a thankfully brief role as the player's wife. Jack Wild shows his limitations as the most famous cripple in fairy tales, Richard Eyre has a nice turn as an increasingly disillusioned pilgrim, Peter Vaughn brings the church into disrepute as a pragmatic Bishop and it's strangely appropriate to see John Hurt playing Pleasance's son considering the way his career has evolved into a modern-day Pleasance's as a stock feature in undemanding low-budget movies.

Long out of circulation, Legend's extras-free Region 1 NTSC DVD isn't a great transfer but it's acceptable enough considering the film's rarity and Paramount's disinterest in releasing it themselves. In France the film is available in an English-friendly 10-disc boxed set of Demy's features. Very unusual and worth a look.