The Pied Piper of Hamelin (1957)

Article 2015 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 9-20-2006
Posting Date: 2-17-2007
Directed by Bretaigne Windust
Featuring Van Johnson, Claude Rains, Lori Nelson

A town beset by rats hires a magical piper to get rid of the rodents. Then, when the mayor decides to get out of paying the piper his fee, the piper decides to exact a fitting revenge…

When reviewing children’s movies, I don’t really try too hard to figure out how it will go over with children; I’m really more interested in how well it goes over with my adult self. I quite like this one, and one reason for this is that there is much to interest the adult viewer, what with the political satire surrounding the mayor’s machinations. In fact, I think this fairy tale is more geared for adults anyway; after all, it is the adults who have the lesson to learn in this one. I also quite like the music, much of which comes from Grieg; I especially love the use of “In the Hall of the Mountain King”. The acting is also good, especially from Claude Rains (as the Mayor) and Van Johnson in the dual role of Trusom and the Piper. There are some very strong scenes here; the scene where the children are led into the mountain is the one scene I recall from a viewing many years ago (and it’s still quite powerful, especially when one child is left behind), and the scene where the piper climbs to the top of the bell tower to give his warning to the people is also memorable; pay close attention to the statues in this scene. And if I were Jim Backus’s character, I’d be very grateful that cannon did not go off.



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