"Are you looking for a film that you can safely watch with your children ? Have you seen most of the Disney catalogue ? Well, happily--once in a while--someone other than Disney produces a film that can enchant young and old, and in 1958 Mr. George Pal did just that with "Tom Thumb". After producing several science fiction classics in the fifties, Mr. Pal and his crack special effects team set up shop in England for this winning musical fantasy, based on the famous fairy tale.
A poor, honest wood-cutter, Jonathan (Bernard Miles) and his wife, Anne (Jessie Matthews) are granted three wishes by the Forest Queen (lovely June Thorburn) for sparing her favourite tree. They basically bungle their wishes, but they are granted a son to raise. His name is Tom, and he is 5 1/2 inches tall. Of course, being so tiny, Tom has all sorts of interesting adventures. Unfortunately, one of them involves innocently helping two crooks (the hilarious team of Terry-Thomas and Peter Sellers) steal a bag of gold, for which Tom's new parents are blamed. Luckily, Tom is able to eventually turn the tables on the crooks, with help from a local "merry minstrel" (affable Alan Young),who also has a crush on the Forest Queen, and we wind up with a very happy ending !
Tom is played by one of the most talented and remarkable performers in the history of cinema--Mr. Russ Tamblyn--an incredible dancer and acrobat with a very engaging personality. Even among this strong cast, Russ Tamblyn--all "5 1/2 inches" of him--stands tall ! The extended production number with Tom and the toys is a classic--a tribute to Mr.Tamblyn's talent and Mr.Pal's Oscar-winning (as it turned out) special effects team. You can see how all that "puppetoon" experience paid off ! A later scene where Tom puts on wooden shoes that can't stop dancing is another highlight.
As the "heavies", Terry-Thomas and Peter Sellers are a matchless pair--with his rolling eyes, and devilish grin, Mr. Thomas gives this film exactly the type of "over-the-top" performance it needs, with Mr. Sellers as a perfect, dim-witted foil. They are perhaps the funniest duo since Laurel and Hardy.
The DVD is widescreen on one side, and full screen on the other. The colour is beautiful, especially the scenes where Tom is interacting with the toys. The sound is mono. Miss Peggy Lee composed the lively score, with several songs that your children will enjoy (especially the "Yawning Man" sequence, voiced by Stan Freberg)--was there no end to Miss Lee's talent ? Extras are sparse--brief biographies of Russ Tamblyn and George Pal (who directed as well as produced), and the film's trailer.
"Tom Thumb" is the happy result of two major talents combining their efforts to produce a timeless classic. Today George Pal is remembered and respected as a pioneer of imaginative film. As for Russ Tamblyn, this title role--perhaps more than any other--provides a showcase for his special gifts. How about 4 1/2 stars for a 5 1/2 inch star ! Recommended for the entire family !"
When i was a little kid, this was my favorite movie
Jonathan Lapin | Brooklyn, NY USA | 06/25/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"and the good parts are just as good today.start off, of course, with the brilliant sequences from george pal. if i am not mistaken, this was the final puppetoon animation he did, as he was then involved increasingly in directing feature length films. but if only for the yawning man and con-fu-shen, this film would be worth seeing.add to that, the wonderful live performances by such as the underrated dancer russ tamblyn in the title role; the legendary jessie matthews; and a young peter sellers and terry thomas as marvelous comic villains. sadly, the love story between queenie and woody slows thing down, and even the usually wonderful alan young cant save that part of the movie. (incidentally, a year later young would turn in his finest performance in the george pal "time machine.")i have such fond memories of this movie, and it manages to live up to them -- i would wholeheartedly recommend it, especially to fans of fantasy, dance, or puppetry. bravo!"
Jonathan Lapin | 03/13/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Loved the film; brought back memories of my childhood when my parents brought me to see it back in the late 50's. The film though presented principally for children, has a lot of sentimentality and morals to its' credit. Really nice movie."
A delightful film for the entire family!
Rosella Ann Myles | 09/04/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I found this late 1950's version of Tom Thumb" to be the best Rus Tamblyn was superb in it. It's so very well worth seeing. i think it deserves all the stars it can get. It really impressed be as such a magical film. The dance numbers were great. It was funny amusing, romantic, colorful, nice songs and dance. I also found Alan Young wonderful in it as well. It's a must see for the entire family."
Mr T Haslam | BOLTON, LANCS United Kingdom | 12/18/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This film is one of the best films of all time for children and adults too, unfortunately the film is not available on video or DVD in the United Kingdom so anyone who lives in the U.K. will have to have a Video Recorder which is NTSC compatible. This film used to double bill at the cinema with Wizard of Oz but more enjoyable of the two and you don't tire of watching it."