Viewers tuning in to see Jack the Giant Killer should be warned that there are two versions of this very same movie, the original 1962 release and a later "musical" version, in which songs were added to the existing footage; avoid at all costs the latter version, which is atrocious. The original, by contrast, is actually a pretty good little flick. Granted, it's a blatant rip-off of The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad, but it still has a certain charm of its own. The story is engaging, if decidedly childlike, and Nathan Juran's direction, while hardly earth-shattering, has a nice little flair. Of course, this is the kind of film that lives on "high points," with the moments between coming across as nothing more than filler; but Jack at least makes sure that the high points keep on coming, even if some are higher than others. A film of this sort also lives or dies on its special effects, and it's here that Jack falls significantly short of Sinbad. But even if the effects are somewhat less than convincing (especially for CGI-reared viewers), they still have a charm and their very cartoonish-ness is actually quite winning. Highlights include the sea monster-giant battle, the attack of the witches and the final dragon battle. Kerwin Mathews is acceptable as Jack, with Torin Thatcher appropriately evil. The best work comes from Walter Burke and Thatcher's henchman and Don Beddoe as the imp.
by Craig Butler review