Sunday, June 23, 2013

Family Movie Night: Pinocchio

Title: Pinocchio
Directors: Ben Sharpsteen, Hamilton Luske, Norman Ferguson, T. Hee, Wilfred Jackson, Jack Kinney and Bill Roberts
Original Release: 1940
Choice: Our Girl's
My Overall Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Image via Wikipedia

I first saw Pinocchio as a young child at the Kennedy Center back when it was home to the American Film Institute.    The part I always remembered best from that early viewing was Geppetto out searching for Pinocchio in his nightgown.  The Disney classic is based on The Adventures of Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi.  Initially a commercial flop, Pinocchio survived to become one of the most critically acclaimed animated films of all time.

Geppetto is an old, lonely wood-carver.  One day he builds a puppet named Pinocchio and wishes that he might become a real boy.  A fairy comes while the old man sleeps and grants the wish... sort of.  Pinocchio is alive enough to move without strings but in order to become a real boy, he must prove himself to be brave, truthful and unselfish. 

While the thematic material of the early Disney films is quite dated in 2013, the cel animation is  stunning.  Today's CGI works cannot match the depth and texture of Pinocchio.  The movie's most lasting legacy, however, is its music.  Pinocchio won two Academy Awards: best original score and best song.  "When You Wish upon a Star" would become the iconic song of the entire Disney empire.

I like this Bill Evans rendition a lot:


  1. When the film was re-released in 1954, my family went to see it and I remember being unable to distinguish the cuckoo clocks in Gepetto's workshop from my surroundings in the theater. I was five, and the magic of that absorption has never left me. My young consciousness had entered the events of the film. Later, I was always grateful that Disney was aware of his medium's influence on young minds and did not abuse it.

    1. What a wonderful recollection! The sense of magic is very strong in the early Disney films.

  2. I'm pretty sure I've seen this one on TV, back when I was a kid, but I really have hardly any recollection of it.

    1. I was surprised when I saw it for the first time as an adult by how many of the details felt new to me. My experience with The Wizard of Oz was very different. It was on more often growing up but I also had the story memorized from a very young age. The narrative follows a more obvious line, which helps.