30:55, 32/33:42, 47, 51:27
A couple desperately need a babysitter for her younger brother Donald, and hire two workers (Jack and Mr. Dinkle) on short notice. Jack quickly realises what a tough job it is babysitting a terror like this, and decides to put him to sleep with a good old fashioned fairytale-Jack and the Beanstalk. In this fantasy, young boy Jack must save his village, his = cow Henry, and a kidnapped princess from an evil giant. With the help of some magic beans, he manages to climb up, teaming up with a prince, friendly giant housekeeper Polly, and greedy butcher Mr. Dinklepuss...
Jack and the Beanstalk is one of the more unique Abbott and Costello movies out there, for a few reasons. Firstly, it's more of a Lou Costello movie than a double act. Abbott is still here of course, but the two characters feel a bit more distant than usual, and Jack is definitely the lead, while Mr. Dinklepuss is more of a supporting character. No-one feels upstaged though, which is a relief. It just feels like =.
The second difference is that it feels like it does something different from their usual schtick. Not that I have a problem with = of course, as I adore their usual schtick, but it's always nice to do something different every now and then.
The framing story [here] is amusing enough, and the precocious and diabolical kid is funny. This takes up the first 11 minutes of the film, and I didn't mind it, until the end. The fantasy section takes up the majority of the film, and it's fun! It sets everything up well and is an amusing take on the classic story. It has enough comic deviations to be = and fresh, but not so many that it feels too distant from the source.
There's always plenty going on, whether it be adventure, romance, comedy, and music. And al at a brisk 80 minutes there's no chance of getting bored here.
I was a bit disappointed at the ending though. The climax is a little rushed, mostly satisfying but with a few loose ends (like Polly and the cow! How'd they get down the beanstalk, especially since they weren't =before it was chopped down!). But the return of the framing story is way too short. It only lasts for about a minute, then it's all over! No real resolution for anything.
The characters in Jack and the Beanstalk really make it. Lou Costello is funny and =, and you really do buy him as a boy, despite being in his 40s. He's so wholesome, innocent, and cuddly! Mr. Dinklepuss is more minor, but a good presence, always having some kind of scheme under his pocket (and who can't love that name??). The prince and princess are fine, maybe a little bland to some but never annoying. I was actually a bit annoyed at first that she didn't wanna be with Bud! Come on, girl, pick the more unconventional match! But then Jack meets the giant Polly, and their relationship is so cute! Polly's a great presence, contributing plenty to the film. And lastly, the giant is a neat villain. Simple but effective, and =, but always getting the crap kicked out of him.
The action here is great to watch! There's enough comedy and thrills to keep anybody entertained, and they're all very well made. There are some spectacular moments, like Abbot's escape through the window, or the battle at the end.
The effects are all nice. The setting is convincing and colourful, while the animals are cute, and the beanstalk pretty good, especially with the great matte paintings of the scenery below! Then there's the giant itself. He's actually not that giant, only a foot taller than everyone else, but he's done up with enough fur and clubs to look convincing. The only real drawback to him being this small is it kinda makes chopping down the beanstalk at the end unnecessary.
The acting here is plenty of fun. Lou Costello is an endearing lead who makes the movie, while Bud Abbott still entertains plenty despite a smaller role. Buddy Baer is = as the giant, and Dorothy Ford is cute and sweet as Polly! Shaye Cogan and James Alexander are decent actors, although something about Alexander looks plain weird when he's in the make-up and wig, I don't know what! This isn't helped by his singing. And lastly, David Stollery is amusing as the young brat despite his short screentime, with =.
The music here is a bit of a mixed bag. There are 5 songs played, but very unevenly. There's not a single one in the whole first half hour, then suddenly we get two in 5 minutes. The songs aren't that bad, though the singing's not the greatest. With Lou Costello that at least works a bit, but with the others, like =, not so much.
Jack and the Beanstalk is a great time! A later Abbott and Costello entry, but by no means a stinker. It's just as much fun as the earlier efforts, different in some ways, but familiar where it counts, and great fun for the whole family...
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