Category Archives: Buddy Hackett

Blu-Ray Review: The Wonderful World Of The Brothers Grimm (1962).

Directed by Henry Levin (& George Pal)
Produced by George Pal
Screenplay by Charles Beaumont & William Roberts,
based on the stories of Wilhelm & Jacob Grimm
Cinematography: Paul Vogel
Film Editor: Walter Thompson
Special Effects: David Pal, Tim Barr, Wah Chang, Robert Hoag, Gene Warren
Music by Leigh Harline

Cast: Laurence Harvey (Wilhelm Grimm/The Cobbler), Karl Bohm (Jacob Grimm), Claire Bloom (Dorothea Grimm), Barbara Eden (Greta Heinrich), Yvette Mimieux (The Princess), Jim Backus (The King), Russ Tamblyn (The Woodsman/Tom Thumb), Buddy Hackett (Hans), Terry-Thomas (Ludwig), Beulah Bondi (The Gypsy), Ian Wolfe (Gruber)


The Wonderful World Of The Brothers Grimm premiered in the US in August of 1962, with the distinction of being “the first dramatic film in fabulous Cinerama” — shot and exhibited in the original three-panel format. Next came How The West Was Won (1962), again with the three-panel setup. (Grimm was actually shot after West.) These things were expensive to shoot and hard to exhibit, so beginning with It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963), non-travelogue films for Cinerama exhibition were shot in things like 70mm Ultra Panavision.

The one time  I saw The Wonderful World Of The Brothers Grimm was on laserdisc. And while I was thrilled to be seeing it in something widescreen-ish, the merging of the three Cinerama panels was a mess and incredibly distracting. I was not impressed, though Buddy Hackett and the dragon (my reason for watching it to begin with) really knocked me out. Hooray for Jim Danforth!

All these years later, a truly gargantuan restoration of The Wonderful World Of The Brothers Grimm has come to Blu-Ray, and it’s a really remarkable thing. The picture had been declared un-restorable, its elements too far gone. Luckily, David Strohmaier and Tom H. March, the folks responsible for the Blu-Ray of How The West Was Won, really outdid themselves here to give Brothers Grimm a new lease on life. The panel lines are practically gone, the color’s near-perfect and it comes complete with overture, intermission and all the trimmings. Even a few glitches in the original effects have been repaired, not in a revisionary way — just a subtle patch here and there.


Producer George Pal used the story of Wilhelm (Laurence Harvey) and Jacob Grimm (Karl Bohm) as a backbone for a series of Grimm’s fairy tales: “The Dancing Princess,” “The Cobbler And The Elves” and “The Singing Bone.” It’s pretty ingenious, with some nice effects and beautiful locations, but you might could argue whether this was a good fit for the mammoth Cinerama screen.

The cast in impressive. Russ Tamblyn reprises his title role from Pal’s Tom Thumb (1958) and Yvette Mimieux had been in Pal’s The Time Machine (1960). Pal was able to revisit his Puppetoon days (above) for “The Cobbler And The Elves.” It’s interesting that Jim Backus, Buddy Hackett and Terry-Thomas would soon be back on the Cinerama screens in It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. 

For movie nerds like me, the real story is the miracle this Blu-Ray pulls off. The Wonderful World Of The Brothers Grimm looks marvelous, whether you choose the standard widescreen version or the “smilebox” setup that approximates the feel of the curved screen (and gets rid of the odd bowl-shaped effect that comes with these three-panel films). The sound has been spiffed up, with plenty of punch. My favorite thing was the documentary, which shows just all the work, and all the technical whatzits, that were needed to get Pal’s picture looking better than ever. I’ve watched it twice.

As a movie, The Wonderful World Of The Brothers Grimm is cute, but as an example of yesterday’s roadshow exhibition and today’s film restoration, it’s nothing short of a miracle. Highly, highly recommended.

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Filed under 1962, Buddy Hackett, Cinerama, DVD/Blu-ray Reviews, Film Preservation, George Pal, Henry Levin, Jim Backus, MGM, Warner Archive

Blu-Ray News #374: The Wonderful World Of The Brothers Grimm (1962).

Directed by Henry Levin and George Pal
Starring Laurence Harvey, Karlheinz Böhm, Claire Bloom, Yvette Mimieux, Russ Tamblyn, Jim Backus, Terry-Thomas, Barbara Eden, Buddy Hackett

After an extensive (and expensive) digital restoration, from 4K scans of the original Cinerama camera negatives, The Wonderful World Of The Brothers Grimm (1962) is coming to Blu-Ray from Warner Archive. 

It played at the Museum Of Modern Art a few days ago.

Originally shot and exhibited in the three-panel Cinerama process, spiffing this thing up was no easy task. The Blu-Ray sounds like it’s really gonna be something. From Warner Archive: “…this Deluxe Two Disc Edition gives the viewer the opportunity to watch the film either in a traditional letterbox format, or in the Smilebox format which attempts to re-create the immersive Cinerama experience with a simulated curve to the screen. Both versions bring together the three original Cinerama panels with virtually no trace of the lines that joined them together when originally projected in theaters back in 1962.”

The set will come with a hefty batch of extras. Can’t wait. When it comes to film restoration, this is a real fairy-tale ending!

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Filed under 1962, Buddy Hackett, DVD/Blu-ray News, George Pal, Henry Levin, Jim Backus, MGM, Warner Archive

Dialogue Of The Day: It’s A Mad Mad Mad Mad World (1963).

Benjy Benjamin (Buddy Hackett): Look! We’ve figured it seventeen different ways, and every time we figured it, it was no good, because no matter how we figured it, somebody don’t like the way we figured it! So now, there’s only one way to figure it. And that is, every man, including the old bag, for himself!

For Mr. Richard Vincent.

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Filed under 1963, Buddy Hackett, Dialogue Of The Day, Mickey Rooney, United Artists

RIP, Jack Davis.

2223

We’ve lost the great illustrator Jack Davis, who has passed away at 91. Here’s his poster art for It’s A Mad Mad Mad Mad World (1963). Click on it and it gets huge for study.

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Filed under 1963, Buddy Hackett, Buster Keaton, Don Knotts, Jerry Lewis, Jim Backus, Mickey Rooney

Dean Jones, RIP.

Love Bug LCs

Dean Jones
(January 25, 1931 – September 1, 2015)

Dean Jones, star of one of my favorite films growing up, The Love Bug (1968), has passed away at 84. How much joy did this guy usher into the world?

The-Love-Bug-90

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Filed under 1968, Buddy Hackett, Dean Jones, Disney, Herbie

Blu-Ray News #15: Four From American International Pictures (And Olive Films).

AIP logo scope

Olive Films has announced four terrific titles from American International Pictures (AIP) for February release on Blu-ray.

Frankie Annette drivein

Muscle Beach Party (1964)
Directed by William Asher
Starring Frankie Avalon, Annette Funicello, Luciana Paluzzi, John Ashley, Don Rickles, Jody McCrea, Dick Dale, Candy Johnson, Morey Amsterdam, Buddy Hackett, Little Stevie Wonder

Beach Blanket Bingo (1965)
Directed by William Asher
Starring Frankie Avalon, Annette Funicello, Deborah Walley, Harvey Lembeck, John Ashley, Jody McCrea, Donna Loren, Linda Evans, Timothy Carey, Don Rickles, Paul Lynde

vlcsnap-2011-04-02-21h58m33s173

The Wild Angels (1966)
Directed by Roger Corman
Starring Peter Fonda, Nancy Sinatra, Bruce Dern, Diane Ladd, Michael J. Pollard, Gayle Hunnicutt, Dick Miller

psych-out-poster

Psych-Out (1968)
Directed by Richard Rush
Starring Susan Strasburg, Dean Stockwell, Jack Nicholson, Bruce Dern, Adam Roarke, The Seeds, The Strawberry Alarm Clock

This is some of the stuff that rotted my brain as a kid. Essential.

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Filed under 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, AIP, Annette Funicello, Buddy Hackett, Dick Miller, Don Rickles, DVD/Blu-ray News, Frankie Avalon, Olive Films, Peter Bogdanovich, Peter Fonda, Roger Corman, Timothy Carey, William Asher

Dialogue Of The Day: It’s A Mad Mad Mad Mad World (1963).

IAMMMMW Old Fashioned

Tyler Fitzgerald (Jim Backus): “Anybody can fly a plane, now here: I’ll check you out. Put your little hands on the wheel there. Now put your feet on the rudder. There. Who says this ol’ boy can’t fly this ol’ plane? Now I’m gonna make us some Old Fashioned’s the old-fashioned way – the way dear old Dad used to!”

Benjy Benjamin (Buddy Hackett): “What if something happens?”

Tyler Fitzgerald: “What could happen to an Old Fashioned?”

For Mr. Richard Vincent.

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Filed under 1963, Buddy Hackett, Dialogue Of The Day, Jim Backus, Mickey Rooney