PUSS N BOOTS
(1967) Childhood Productions (January release)
National Screen Service #67-60
Music: Milton & Anne Delugg
Orchestrations: George Brackman
Musical Director: Lehman Engel
Narrator: Paul Tripp
PUSS ‘N BOOTS is a pleasant, if unexceptional example of postwar fairy tale cinema. The production design is handsome, utilizing real Bavarian locations including a majestic castle and lush green forests. Sets, including the king’s guardhouse and a traveling coach, are well-mounted.
Puss is played by an actor in a fairly mangy cat-suit right from the beginning, even when he is a lowly house cat. Puss’ human companion comes across as a bit too old and fey for the part. The good-hearted King Wonderful, and his lovely daughter, Princess Roseanne, are both effective, as is the evil magician, a creepy bearded drunk named “Neversober”.
The fantastic elements of the film are spare, but convincing; Puss turns a “tree-boy” back into a real boy, and there is a talking moosehead. To prove his powers to Puss, Neversober turns into both a poodle and an elephant (before turning into the mouse which Puss devours).
As in many of the Childhood Productions fairy tales, there are only two songs: “Clever Cat” “Ping! Pang! Pong!”. The delightful musical score by Anne & Milton Delugg was released on an original soundtrack album by RCA/Camden records.
There are some noticable differences between this German film version of “Puss in Boots”, and the 1961 Mexican filming. In the Mexican PUSS N’ BOOTS, Puss starts out as a real cat, before changing into a decidedly expressionist man-in-suit. His companion, Randy, is a small boy. Puss’ nemesis is an evil Ogre. The Ogre turns into both a dragon and a lion. And most tellingly, Puss does not retain the magician’s powers after vanquishing him, as he does here.
This PUSS ‘N BOOTS is an excellent example of quaintly literal storytelling, before cinema fairy tales were forced to be “updated” (i.e. smarmy, modern, satirical or tongue-in-cheek).
DVD comes packaged as shown in color DVD case, wrapped in plastic!