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Review Written by: Chris Burns
Film: A+

Directed by: Hamilton Luske and Ben Sharpsteen
Written by: Ted Sears, Otto Englander, Webb Smith, William Cottrell, Joseph Sabo, Erdman Penner and Aurelius Battaglia
Based on the book by: Carlo Collodi
Produced by: Walt Disney
Starring: Dickie Jones, Cliff Edwards, Christian Rub, Evelyn Venable, Walter Catlett, Charles Judels, Frankie Darro
Studio: Walt Disney Pictures

For seventy years, people of all demographics have been entertained and enchanted by the animated features brought out by the Disney studios. In an era when most animated films lack imagination and spirit, it's always nice to watch an earlier Disney film, whether it be one of their old classics or the works released during the early 90's renaissance. Most film historians claim that Snow White and Fantasia are the best films to come out of the beginning years and while I agree they are certainly historically important, they don't quite give me the joy provided by 1940's Pinocchio. Adapted from the Italian story, Disney may have changed things plenty during the writing progress, but the result is a magical and unforgettable experience that proves to not only be a fun romp, but also one of the best cautionary tales brought to the screen.

The story is, of course, familiar to everyone. A kindly, old woodcarver named Gepetto builds his own "little wooden boy" and soon enough the puppet is brought to life. However, before he can become a real boy, Pinocchio must prove himself worthy and with Jiminy Cricket as his conscious, he goes out into the real world, full of crooks and criminals. Naturally, Pinocchio the ever youthful puppet, lands into plenty of trouble, first becoming an actor for a scary marionette master and then being turned into a donkey. The audience, especially the young children watching, are absolutely enthralled by the whole production, but also scared by what is shown on screen. Unlike today's cartoons, that try to be as "friendly" as possible, Walt Disney wanted his films to leave an impact and Pinocchio certainly fits into that category. While the film enchants, it also provide plenty of frightening moments as well.

Quite possibly the scariest scene in the film is when on Pleasure Island, troublesome boys are transformed into donkeys and sent to the salt-mines. Pinocchio can quite possibly be called the greatest anti-cigar film ever made, just for the fact that it doesn't say that smoking is bad, it shows it (although, ironically, Disney himself was a massive smoker)! Another scene that really gets to young audiences is the part in which Pinocchio begins to lie up a storm and his nose grows, even producing a nest with birds at the end. It's enough to make children squirm in their seats and have them afraid to tell a lie again. One of the reasons these scenes are so successful in leading people to the right decision is the fact that Pinocchio is not just a little wooden boy, he represents the child in every one of us: naive and ready to set out into the world, but not fully aware of the dangers awaiting us.

Along with the donkey-transformation and nose-growing scenes, the most memorable aspect of Pinocchio is the music. "When You Wish Upon a Star" is Disney's anthem for a reason. It's not only beautiful, but also brings about what we all want: to wish for a better world, one without evil puppet masters, children taking bad habits and devilish foxes bringing people to the dark side. Finally, the most touching scene comes in the end, when Pinocchio seems like he might die, but his bravery to save Gepetto finally allows him to become a real boy. Even remembering that scene leads one to smile as it's not only Gepetto and Pinocchio's wish that is fulfilled, but ours as well. Everybody loves a happy ending and Pinocchio features the best of them all. Not only is it the best film made by Disney, but it's also their most optimistic. And that's why Pinocchio is such a classic.

Pinocchio and Jiminy Cricket, the main stars of Disney's animated classic.
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