Jack and the Beanstalk (1974 film)
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|Jack and the Beanstalk|
Japanese poster for the film
|Hepburn||Jakku to Mame no Ki|
|Directed by||Gisaburō Sugii|
|Produced by||Mikio Nakata|
|Written by||Shūji Hirami|
|Music by||Takashi Miki|
|Edited by||Masashi Furukawa|
Nippon Herald Films
|Distributed by||Columbia Pictures
Jack and the Beanstalk (ジャックと豆の木 Jakku to Mame no Ki?) is a 1974 Japanese animated feature film produced by Group TAC and Nippon Herald Films and directed by Gisaburō Sugii. Styled after classical Western animation, it is a musical fantasy based on the fairy tale of the same name with the screenplay by Shūji Hirami, music organization by Yū Aku and songs and score composed and arranged by Takashi Miki with Shun'ichi Tokura and Tadao Inōe. It was released in Japan on July 20, 1974 and in the United States by Columbia Pictures in 1974.
The feature is both Group TAC's first and the first directed by Sugii and particularly unusual in the nature of its Western influence, which extends to animation being assigned by character (rather than by scene as it is conventionally in Japan) and the eclecticism of its soundtrack, which includes examples of kayōkyoku pop, progressive, funk and hard rock, enka and other genres. It is sometimes confused with Tōei's Jack and the Witch, thanks to their similarly named title characters, and should also not be confused with the 1993 OVA directed by Kōji Morimoto of the same name and tale.
Although the film’s story is rooted in the familiar fairy tale of the same name, this version does add a few new characters and plot twists. The tale starts out in the manner that most of us are accustomed to—Jack resides with his mother in a small house out in the country. Being very poor, they eventually find themselves forced to sell their cow, which has stopped giving milk. Jack runs into a mysterious man on the way into town and trades the cow for a handful of “magic” beans. Jack’s mother is, of course, not very thrilled with him and ends up throwing the beans out the window.
As Jack sleeps inside the house, the beanstalk grows, much to the astonishment of Jack’s dog, Crosby. Crosby is even more surprised to see a mouse in a dress (who he ends up rescuing from an owl) descending the beanstalk. At this point, Jack has emerged from the house and is also amazed at the sight of the beanstalk. The mouse convinces Jack and Crosby to accompany her up the beanstalk.
Upon arriving at the top, the trio find themselves in the courtyard of a castle, where they find a girl who appears to be in a trance looking at them. The girl, Margaret, is the princess of the castle. Her mother and father have disappeared but she claims to be happy since she’ll soon be marrying her beloved prince, Tulip (who is actually the giant). Margaret introduces Jack to Tulip’s mother, Madame Hecuba, who herself is in actuality an evil witch that has put the princess under a spell. The witch aspires to become queen of the Land of the Clouds when Tulip and Margaret are married.
Madame Hecuba takes Jack to an upstairs dining hall, where she feeds him some soup intended to put him to sleep. She has to hide him quickly when Tulip, who is not very bright, arrives upstairs. As he is eating, Tulip smells Jack’s presence. Luckily, Jack has managed to escape, much to the chagrin of an angry Hecuba who orders Tulip to find him and promises to share Jack with him.
In the meantime, Jack has been introduced to more clothed mice as well as a talking harp. The harp initially starts calling for the giant, but is quick to cooperate when the mice and Jack persuade her that it would be in her best interest. She reveals that Madame Hecuba got rid of the King and Queen and turned the people of the castle into mice. Tulip comes into the treasure room and Jack witnesses a golden hen lay a golden egg. The harp also reveals that the witch’s spell must be renewed daily.
Jack decides to grab the hen and as much treasure as he can carry and make his way back down the beanstalk. In the process, he tricks Tulip into thinking he fell to his doom so the giant thinks he is rid of Jack. Jack and his mother celebrate their new-found fortune, until Crosby persuades Jack that he should go back up the beanstalk and stop the princess from marrying the giant.
With fresh determination to help the princess, Jack ascends the beanstalk a second time. He learns from the harp that the Hecuba’s spell over the princess can be broken with a kiss from someone who is truly brave. Jack then crashes the mock wedding and gives Margaret a kiss. The witch and the giant are both angered when Margaret returns to normal and recognizes them for who they are. A chase ensues and eventually Jack finds himself face to face with Madame Hecuba again. Tulip enters the room and is about to step on Jack when, at the last moment, he turns on his mother and steps on her instead.
With the witch destroyed, the mice find themselves turning back into people and the castle starts to return to normal. Jack reveals that giant is still around, however, and the latter quickly shows up. There is another chase scene, with Jack and Crosby angering and tormenting the dimwitted giant, and eventually luring him to the beanstalk. They climb down, with Tulip in hot pursuit, and like in the original story, cut the beanstalk down upon reaching the bottom. The giant, of course, falls to his doom, and that is the end of the story.
- Jack (ジャック Jakku?)
- Key animated by: Shigeru Yamamoto; voiced by: Masachika Ichimura (Japanese), Billie Lou Watt (English)
- Margaret (マーガレット Māgaretto?)
- Old bean-seller
- voiced by: Kō Nishimura
- Prince Tulip the giant (巨人(チューリップ) Kyojin (Chūrippu)?)
- Key animated by: Teruhito Ueguchi; voiced by: Hiroshi Mizushima (Japanese), Jack Grimes (English)
- Madam Noir (ノワール夫人 Nowāru-fujin?), Madame Hecuba (English)
- Key animated by: Kazuko Nakamura; voiced by: Kirin Kiki
- Crosby (グロスビー Gurosubī?)
- Harp (たて琴 Tategoto?)
- Key animated by: Kanji Akahori; voiced by: Nobue Ichitani
- Mother (おっ母?)
- voiced by: Miyoko Asō
- Paper priest (紙の司祭 Kami no shisai?)
- voiced by: Takeshi Kusaka
- Kōjō (口上?)
- voiced by: Tonpei Hidari
- Mii (ミイ?)
- Key animated by: Toshio Hirata
- Mice (ねずみたち Nezumi-tachi?)
- Key animated by: Toshio Hirata
- The beanstalk (豆の木 Mame no ki?)
- Key animated by: Kanji Akahori
It is the first feature directed by Sugii or animated by Group TAC and the second film under that arrangement, following as it did the just previously produced half-hour educational film The History of Mutual Aid: The Story of Life Insurance.
- タイトル・口上（左 とん平）
- 追い出しの歌（左 とん平）
The English-dubbed version received mixed opinion from U.S. critics. Henry Herx wrote in his Family Guide to Movies on Video: "Its songs are insipid and the animation rather primitive[;] still it moves along at a lively enough pace and may amuse younger children." Richard Eder of The New York Times remarked: "The lines are blurry, the colors muddy, and the action is blocklike. When the characters' lips move up and down, the words come out sideways." He ended his short review with this comment: "It is the kind of thing grandfathers are sent out to send their grandchildren to. They will sit silently, side by side, and a quiet loathing will come up between them." In 2010, Michael R. Pitts said that the songs are "forgettable". Conversely, the writers of Jerry Beck's Animated Movie Guide hailed it as "A successful Japanese emulation of American fairy tale theatrical cartoon features with many delightful songs", and gave it four stars.
- "ジャックと豆の木とは - 映画情報 Weblio辞書". Weblio.jp. Retrieved 2012-02-25.
- "ジャックと豆の木". Jmdb.ne.jp. Retrieved 2012-02-25.
- The original, Japanese-language version film itself.
- "Los Angeles Anime Festival". Anime News Network. April 16, 2003. Retrieved September 15, 2012.
- "Two pioneer women animators". Pelleas.net. 2006-11-11. Retrieved 2012-02-25.
- Jack and the Beanstalk at the Internet Movie Database
- "The History of Mutual Aid". Pelleas.net. 2010-11-27. Retrieved 2012-02-25.
- "Family/children". Hen's Tooth Video. Retrieved 2012-02-25.
- ミュージカル・ファンタジィ"ジャックと豆の木" (in Japanese). Anison Generation. Retrieved 2012-06-24.
- Herx, Henry (1988). "Jack and the Beanstalk". The Family Guide to Movies on Video. The Crossroad Publishing Company. p. 136 (pre-release version). ISBN 0-8245-0816-5.
- Eder, Richard (April 16, 1976). "The Screen: 'Beanstalk'". The New York Times. p. 11.
- Pitts, Michael R. (2010). "Jack and the Beanstalk". Columbia Pictures Horror, Science Fiction and Fantasy Films, 1928–1982. McFarland & Company. pp. 118–119. ISBN 0-7864-4447-9. Retrieved August 7, 2011.
- Beck, Jerry (2005). "Jack and the Beanstalk". The Animated Movie Guide. Chicago Reader Press. pp. 125–126. ISBN 1-55652-591-5.
- Jack to Mame no Ki: Animemorial
- AniPages Daily: Jack and the Beanstalk
- Cartoon Brew TV #12: Anime Trailers
- Jack to Mame no Ki: Television Tropes & Idioms
- English version trailer on YouTube