Pinocchio (1940)

Ever seen a movie that has a gimic to it that every single goddamn person on the planet knows and references constantly, only to find that said gimic is only in one scene??? Well I have, this is Pinocchio.

The film revolves around Geppetto, the carpenter, wishing upon a star that his new puppet Pinocchio becomes a real boy. The wish comes true and Pinocchio ends up getting separated from his father, whereupon the adventure begins as the young boy, aided by his conscience, Jimminy Cricket. Together they have to escape the likes of Honest John, an anthropomorphic fox, and his sidekick Gideon, the circus master Stromboli and the evil coachmaster who takes them to the ‘wonderful’ pleasure island where Pinocchio meets Lampwick and must escape before they turn into donkeys. Eventually our heroes find Geppetto inside the whale, Monstro.

This is a very good-looking film. The animation is wonderful and, like Snow White, I love the opening and ending scenes, both of which focus on the sky. The shots of the village ,in what appears to be rural Germany, something which would be recreated in Beauty and the Beast. the scenes in Geppetto’s shop are also really good. The whole puppet/woody look is done very well and I imagine that it may have been easier to draw than Geppetto or Figero (his cat). Speaking of the characters, I thought Pinocchio would be annoying and slightly obnoxious. Instead I found him, along with the other characters, to be very likable and easy to love. I would, however, pick up on the fact that Geppetto has had a son, a wooden, puppet son for one day yet sees fit to send him to school and then obsesses over his disappearance. Why? You can get another wooden puppet son, just wish on another star, nevertheless it does show that Geppetto does love his strange wooden son of about 6 hours…

I love the story because it seems like more of an adventure than a straight up story along the lines of Snow White. This format allows us to meet other characters such as Monstro, who is really well animated with the smoke cloaking the beast’s appearance and the eyes and the teeth being enlarged and exaggerated. I like Honest John and Gideon especially the song ‘an actors life for me’. Plus the voices of these characters are really nice, Honest John comes across as very sly and cunning (aided by the fact that he is a fox) whilst Gideon is more of a Zeppo Marx. I do have one complaint about this scene and that’s where Honest John first see’s Pinocchio and says something along the lines of “People would pay a fortune to see this”…

Yes because NOBODY would want to see an intelligent, talking, anthropomorphic fox…

I like the character of the circus master because, lets face it, he’s funny. The music is great giving us some wonderful songs such as an actor’s life for me and the timeless When you wish upon a star , which I cannot for the life of me tell whether it’s being sung by a man or a woman (Could be Bea Arthur by the sounds of it) Nevertheless I loved this song. Finally I wanna talk about the main aspect of Pinocchio, his nose grows when he lies. This happens once. One freaking time in the entire film and yet everybody remembers it and references it. I suppose it’s a testament to how memorable the scene is. Speaking of memorable scenes we have that excellent scene where the boys are turning into donkeys, something which I think would’ve taken a while to animate. Secondly the scenes with the whale, Monstro are great with the smoke shrouding it and the dark seas and sky, it really looks great.

A brilliant film, I think I prefered it to Snow White (DON’T KILL ME!!!) Actually very heartwarming at times.



One thought on “Pinocchio (1940)

  1. You should watch the live action version – I watched the last half an hour – Shit, but the effects were GREAT… Honest…


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