Talkie of the Week: Disney Series
USA 1940, 88 minutes, Technicolor, Walt Disney Pictures. Distributed by: RKO Radio Pictures, Based on “The Adventures of Pinocchio” by Carlo Collodi
Plot summary: When wood-carver Geppetto makes a wish for his puppet Pinocchio to turn into a real boy, he doesn’t expect his dream to come true.
Do you remember the melody and those lyrics written by Leigh Harline and Ned Washington, a perfect composition for children of all ages?
If your heart is in your dream, no request is too extreme. When you wish upon a star as dreamers do.
Whenever I hear it, I can’t stop singing along. It’s such a catchy tune, such a lovely song rightly rewarded with an Academy Award and later selected as Disney’s signature tune.
For all of you who grew up watching Disney movies, Pinocchio is probably a film that stands out in your memories. Based on Carlo Collodi’s Le Avventure di Pinnochio, it was Disney’s second feature, a dream-like adaptation of Italian tales written for children between 1881 and 1883. Now considered a children’s classic, Collodi’s collection of stories introduced us to the adventures of a wooden puppet who was eventually given the chance to become a real boy. Not unlike Bambi in 1942, Pinocchio dealt with harsh realities in a charming way and confronted its audience with lessons on poverty, deceit and loss. Woven into a fantastic plot that allowed a marionette to come to life by grace of a stunning (Jean-Harlow-esque) Blue Fairy, Pinocchio offered children a glimpse into the pitfalls and dangers of a grownup world without disillusioning them. For adults, the plot offered a reflection on their own lives, especially in the early days of WWII.
Although blessed with positive reviews upon release, the film was not immediately considered a success but only gradually brought in the production coasts. Re-released several times, Pinocchio is now a Disney treasure available on DVD and Blu-ray. Colorful and imaginative, the film has preserved its potential to win over any child by passing on key values such as courage, honesty and unselfishness. It is a film that may be more important now than it’s ever been, a classic gem that only grows on you with age.
Refresh your memories of Pinocchio by watching the trailer here.