The Phantom Tollbooth (film)

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The Phantom Tollbooth
The Phantom Tollbooth Poster.jpg
Poster
Directed by Chuck Jones
Abe Levitow
Live action:
Dave Monahan
Produced by Chuck Jones
Written by Norton Juster
Sam Rosen
Based on Novel:
Norton Juster
Starring Butch Patrick
Mel Blanc
Daws Butler
Candy Candido
Hans Conried
June Foray
Patti Gilbert
Shepard Menken
Cliff Norton
Larry Thor
Les Tremayne
Michael Earl
Music by Dean Elliott
Cinematography Lester Shorr
Editing by William Faris
Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release dates
  • November 7, 1970 (1970-11-07)
Running time 90 minutes
Country United States
Language English

The Phantom Tollbooth, also known as The Adventures of Milo in the Phantom Tollbooth, is a 1970 live-action/animated film based on Norton Juster's 1961 children's book The Phantom Tollbooth. This film was produced by Chuck Jones at MGM Animation/Visual Arts. Jones also directed the film, save for the live action bookends directed by fellow Warner Bros. Cartoons alum Dave Monahan. The film was released to theaters by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer on November 7, 1970, and was the last MGM feature film release to include both live-action and animated segments. MGM's United Artists subsidiary would release its first fully animated film The Secret of NIMH in 1982.

Completed by 1968, the film was held up for release by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer until late 1969 due to internal problems. The animation studio closed soon after the film's release, with MGM leaving the animation business for good. Juster had no input into the adaptation, and has expressed his hatred for the film in an interview: "It was a film I never liked. I don't think they did a good job on it. It's been around for a long time. It was well reviewed, which also made me angry."[1]

Plot[edit]

Milo, a bored, lonely boy who lives in a San Francisco apartment block all by himself, is surprised by the sudden arrival of a large, gift-wrapped package. Inside is a tollbooth, which turns out to be a gateway into a magical parallel universe. As Milo passes through the tollbooth, the character moves from live action to animation, and his toy car transports him to the enchanted Kingdom of Wisdom and the cities of Digitopolis and Dictionopolis.

Accompanied by Tock, a "watchdog" who actually has a large pocketwatch in his body, Milo has a series of adventures in places like the Mountains of Ignorance, the Doldrums, Dictionopolis, Digitopolis, and the Castle in the Air. Together they must rescue the Princesses Rhyme and Reason, who are being held captive in the Castle in the Air, and restore order to the Kingdom of Wisdom. The many eccentric characters they meet include the Humbug, the noisy Dr. Dischord, the Mathemagician, King Azaz, the Senses Taker, and Officer Short Shrift.

Cast[edit]

Home release[edit]

The film was released in VHS format in 1992 by Turner Entertainment. In 2011 it was released in a remastered DVD edition by Warner Bros. Archive.[2]

Soundtrack[edit]

  • "Milo's Song"
  • "Don't Say There's Nothing to Do in the Doldrums"
  • "Time Is a Gift"
  • "Noise, Noise, Beautiful Noise"
  • "Word Market"
  • "Numbers Are the Only Thing That Count"
  • "Rhyme and Reason Reign"

Differences between the Book and the Film[edit]

The following characters appear in the book and not in the film:

  • The Soundkeeper
  • The .58
  • Canby
  • Alec Bings
  • The Everpresent Wordsnatcher
  • The Triple Demons of Compromise
  • The Gross Exaggeration (though there is a possibility that the fused monster in the film that harmed Tock is that very creature)
  • The Dilemma (a creature with horns used for poking)

The only original character in the film is the Hideous Two-Faced Hypocrite.

Reception[edit]

The Phantom Tollbooth was met with critical acclaim, earning an approval rating of 100% on Rotten Tomatoes.[3]

Remake[edit]

In February 2010, director Gary Ross began development of a remake of The Phantom Tollbooth for Warner Bros. (current owner of the film) with the first draft of the script written by Alex Tse.[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Stone, RoseEtta (2001). "An Interview with Norton Juster, Author of The Phantom Tollbooth", The Purple Crayon. Last accessed August 2008: http://www.underdown.org/juster.htm
  2. ^ http://www.wbshop.com/Phantom-Tollbooth-The/1000181484,default,pd.html?cgid=ARCHIVENEW Phantom Tollbooth on DVD
  3. ^ The Phantom Tollbooth at Rotten Tomatoes
  4. ^ Billington, Alex (February 17, 2010). "Gary Ross Bringing Phantom Tollbooth Back to the Big Screen". FirstShowing.net (First Showing, LLC). Retrieved April 12, 2010. 

External links[edit]