Pinocchio (1967)

PINOCCHIO (1967)
aka Turlis Abenteuer
Article 4640 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 9-28-2014
Directed by Walter Beck and Ron Merk
Featuring Martin Florchinger, Alfred Muller, Martin Hellberg
Country: East Germany
What it is: Fairy tale adaptation

A lowly carpenter carves a puppet out of a magic block of wood and names him Pinocchio. The puppet boy causes his creator much grief due to his irresponsibility and tendency to fall into temptation. Can the puppet grow up and bring joy to his father, and become a real boy in the process?

No, this version of Carlo Collodi story doesn’t match up to the Disney version, but within the limitations of its much lower budget and the burden of having been dubbed from a foreign language, it is anything but an embarrassment. Part of the charm is the conceit of making it a combination of real life and puppetry; Pinocchio is performed by a marionette (with visible strings), and this choice is very fitting for the story at hand. Furthermore, both the acting and the dubbed acting are well done, so you don’t get the bizarre feeling of disconnect that often happens with dubbed movies. Also, there’s a real sense of other-worldly fantasy in the set design, especially in a creepy forest sequence and in the sequence where the kids end up in Playland. As a result, the movie works quite well indeed, and it is certainly one of the more entertainingly mounted children’s movie I’ve seen. It does manage to have its own sense of magic.

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