The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm (1962)

Genres - Children's/Family, Fantasy  |   Sub-Genres - Children's Fantasy, Fairy Tales & Legends  |   Release Date - Aug 7, 1962 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 135 min.  |   Countries - Germany , United States   |   MPAA Rating - G
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Review by Craig Butler

On the whole, The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm is far from wonderful, but there are some individual moments that fulfill the promise of the title. The marvelous gypsy dance in the "Dancing Princess" is sensual and energetic and features some stunning moves from Russ Tamblyn. The use of stop motion animation also is very rewarding, if variable -- and even if some current-day audiences will find it too primitive. (It is primitive, and yet it also has an undeniable charm -- especially when set in a fairy tale context, where the sometimes jerky movements are not as distracting as they would be in a more "realistic" sci-fi film.) And the resurrection of Buddy Hackett from a single bone is stunningly done. The puppetoons are especially winning during the "Cobbler and the Elves" sequence, and the dragon in the final sequence is impressive. The physical production as a whole is eye-popping, and Mary Wills' delightful costumes deserved their Oscar. On the down side, while the fairy tale sequences just barely avoid dragging, the wraparound "biographical" sequences are dully scripted -- and even more dully performed, especially by Laurence Harvey. Matters are not helped by Bob Merrill's annoying songs, which feature awkward lyrics and unimaginative (if catchy) melodies. Still, there's enough here to entertain children, and the occasional highlight that indicates how good the film could have been.