Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

THE 3 WORLDS OF GULLIVER

Gulliver (Kerwin Mathews) spots some Lilliputians
















THE 3 WORLDS OF GULLIVER (1960). Director: Jack Sher.

Dr. Lemuel Gulliver (Kerwin Mathews) wants to marry his feisty fiancee, Elizabeth (June Thorburn), but is making hardly any money. He decides to seek his fortune at sea, but when he argues with stowaway Elizabeth, he winds up falling overboard. First Gulliver winds up in the land of Lilliput, where he is a giant among little people who argue about which end of an egg to break open. The Lilliputians want Gulliver to kill everyone in the rival nation of Blefusco because they break open their eggs at the wrong end. Later Gulliver winds up in the land of Brobdingnab, where he discovers that he is like a Lilliputian among giants. His fiancee has also washed ashore, and the two are kept as pets by the royal family, who prove as dumb, stubborn and superstitious as the Lilliputians, albeit much bigger. Although this is primarily a family feature, it does get across some of the points in Jonathan Swift's satiric novel about the hypocrisies and idiocies of politics and shallow human nature, and the evils of ignorance, and there's some suggestive dialogue as well relating to horny Gulliver as he impatiently waits to be married by the giant king. Ray Harryhausen has provided a wide variety of effects in addition to his usual stop-motion, and they are excellent. The animated creatures include a squirrel and a gator that tries to make a snack out of Gulliver. Mathews is perfect as Gulliver, and he has a good supporting cast, especially Charles Lloyd Pack as outsized sorcerer Makovan, and Waveney Lee as his evil daughter, Shrike [she also had a small role in Konga and Pack has a long list of credits]. June Thorburn was also in tom thumb. The film was photographed by Wilkie Cooper and features an excellent score from Bernard Herrmann; both men worked on Mysterious Island and other Harryhausen features.

Verdict: Superior fantasy film with fine effects work and spirited performances. ***1/2

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