|The Adventures of Pinocchio character|
Il conduttiere del carro, as illustrated by Enrico Mazzanti
|First appearance||The Adventures of Pinocchio|
|Created by||Carlo Collodi|
The Coachman (Italian: Il Conduttore del Carro), also known as The Little Man (L'Omino), is a fictional character who appears in Carlo Collodi's 1883 book The Adventures of Pinocchio (Le avventure di Pinocchio and also known as The Ring Leader in some Movie Adaptations of Pinocchio like the 2000 T.V. Musical Geppetto).
The coachman is introduced in chapter XXXI, and is described as thus:
|“||Picture for yourselves a little man, broader than he is tall, tender and greasy like a ball of butter, with a rosy face, a small, constantly laughing mouth and a thin, adorable voice of a cat wishing all the best to its master.||”|
The coachman’s name is never revealed, though he identifies himself in Chapter XXXII as merely “The Little Man” (L’Omino). He drives to Busy Bee Island (Isola delle Api Industriose) on a coach pulled by twenty four donkeys which mysteriously wear white shoes on their hooves. By the time he arrives to take Pinocchio and Candlewick to the Land of Toys (Il Paese dei Balocchi), his carriage is completely packed, leaving Candlewick to sit in front with him and Pinocchio to ride one of the donkeys. The donkey throws Pinocchio off, and is reproached by the coachman, who bites half its right ear off. When Pinocchio remounts the donkey, the animal begins to weep like a human, and warns Pinocchio of the impending danger he faces. The coachman again reproaches the animal by biting off half its other ear. The coachman proceeds to kidnap the innocent children to the Land of Toys, whilst singing to himself:
The Coachman is similar in a way to and has several things in common with the Child Catcher as he is someone who takes/kidnaps young boys tricks them and later captures them and imprisons them
“All night they sleep And I never sleep…”
In chapter XXXII, the coachman visits Pinocchio and Candlewick five months later, when they have themselves become donkeys due to their idleness. He violently breaks into their house, meticulously waxes their fur, and puts them on sale. Candlewick is bought by a farmer, while Pinocchio is bought by a circus ringleader.
In Disney version
The Coachman appears in the 1940 Disney film adaptation, where he is voiced by Charles Judels, who also voiced Stromboli. Unlike L'Omino who worked alone, Disney's Coachman enlists Honest John and Gideon to help him lure wayward boys to take to "Pleasure Island" and ultimately turn them into donkeys to sell. Also shown are numerous silent, black, ape-like henchmen working for him on the island. Unlike the book's "Little Man", Disney's Coachman is large, physically imposing, and has a harsh, rather than alluring voice, along with a Cockney accent. Though physically and verbally abusive toward the children-turned donkeys, he does not mutilate them as in the book. Like all the villains of the film, apart from possibly Monstro and Stromboli. Like Stromboli, the Coachman's ultimate fate is never revealed, implying that he never has to face justice.
- In Giuliano Cencis 1972 adaptation Un burattino di nome Pinocchio, the Coachman, voiced by Gianni Bonagura, is portrayed much more closely to the book than his Disney counterpart. Like the Omino of the book, Cenci's Coachman works alone, and he is portrayed as an effeminate and alluring character with a high pitched voice, who easily tricks Pinocchio and Candlewick to come to the Land of Toys. However, he is not portrayed as violently as in the book.
- In the 1993 direct to video adaption from GoodTimes Entertainment, the Coachman is portrayed more like his Disney counterpart who is large and very harsh and gives all the boys a ride to Dunceland and transforming them into donkeys.
- In Steve Barron's 1996 live action film The Adventures of Pinocchio, the Coachman's role is fused with that of Mangiafuoco (renamed Lorenzini), who is played by Udo Kier. After Pinocchio accidentally sets Lorenzini's theatre on fire, Lorenzini changes career and begins luring unruly children to pleasure island, taking on the role originally filled by The Coachman. There, the children inevitably drink cursed water which turns them into donkeys. Lorenzini, during a struggle with Pinocchio, falls into the water and turns into a monstrous whale which swims out to sea.
- In the 1999 live action film "Pinocchio," The coachman is renamed Mr. Gypsy. He is very similar to the coachman in the 1940 Walt Disney film with a rough hoarse voice and tricks Pinocchio into being transformed into a donkey until he is rescued by the Magic Fairy.
- Collodi, Le Avventure di Pinocchio 1883, Biblioteca Universale Rizzoli