JACK AND THE BEANSTALK
1970 – color – directed by Barry Mahon
with Mitdiell Poulos, Dorothy Stokes, Chris Brooks, Renato Boracherro
Following hot on the heels of his other two kiddie ﬂicks, The Wonderful Land of Oz and Thumbelina, former Nudie King BARRY MAHON (A Good Time with a Bad Girl and, oh, about 4000 others) strikes again with Jack and the Beanstalk, a hilariously el cheapo retelling of the classic tale shot on about ﬁve minimalist sets at Florida’s Pirates World amusement park. (ln fact, the ﬁlm concludes with a commercial for the place: ‘Another Fine Picture from Pirates World. Come Visit Us in Dania, Florida.’) One wonders what kind of hideous mental tortures were inﬂicted upon the impressionable children who actually saw this on the big screen, since Mahon shoots it with the same non-style he used on all his adult ﬁlms except he substitutes songs for naked gals. Yes, that’s right, Jack and the Beanstalk is a Mahon musical.
Once upon a time – which seems to be the past though the fashions are all groovy late-Sixties – an adolescent Jack bemoans the death of his daddy and the theft of their ‘enchanted possessions,’ speciﬁcally a mechanical hen that laid golden eggs and a ‘harp that played beautiful tunes by itself.” Since Jack is a bit on the… uh, shall we say, delicate side, he expresses his emotions by belting out an ersatz show tune: ‘We used to have a magic harp that sang to us each day I Then someone stole that magic harp but as I always say I Too-ra-loo-ra-low / Too-ra-loo-ra-lee! Whats the use of being sad, it won’t help you or me!‘ (One can easily envision Jack hitting the fairy-tale gay bars a few years hence.)
A bit more practical,lack’s Ma (who speaks with a thick Southern accent) tells him to sell the family cow for cash. lnstead Jack trades it for some magic beans after ‘Honest John, Used Cow Salesman,” makes the deal irresistible by singing a song about said beans. Mama,of course,is enraged, but when she throws the beans out the window, a beanstalk immediately springs upward which lack quickly climbs while singing the world’s only song about climbing a beanstalk: ‘Soon and soon, I’ll be there soon / What wonders will there be? / Soon and soon, beyond the moon / My magic land I’ll see!‘ He ends up in front of a drawing of a castle which he scurries over to with a strange skip-walk that he only uses going to and from the beanstalk.
Sure enough, courtesy of some godawful effects, Jack sees the giant that stole the hen and harp, though how or why the giant stole them is as unexplained as what he’s doing up there in the clouds. lack swipes the hen and escapes but, because of his sister’s greedy ﬁance, climbs up the stalk twice more to steal the harp and a bag of golden eggs. (His sister and ﬁancé also discuss whether the inn they run should have a liquor license and live entertainment which must have kept the tots in the audience utterly enthralled.)
Finally, Jack cuts down the beanstalk as the giant climbs down after him, thus teaching kids everywhere the value of robbery and the joy of killing one’s enemy.
-Handsome Harry Archer
color, mono, fullscreen, runs 62 minutes! DVD-R comes packaged as shown in color DVD case, wrapped in plastic!