The Three Worlds of Gulliver
|The Three Worlds of Gulliver|
|Directed by||Jack Sher|
|Produced by||Charles H. Schneer|
|Written by||Arthur Ross
Jonathan Swift (Novel)
|Music by||Bernard Herrmann|
|Editing by||Raymond Poulton|
|Distributed by||Columbia Pictures|
|Release dates||December 16, 1960|
|Running time||100 minutes|
The Three Worlds of Gulliver is a 1960 Columbia Pictures fantasy film loosely based upon the 18th-century Irish novel Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift. The film stars Kerwin Mathews as the titular character, June Thorburn as his fiancée Elizabeth, and child actor Sherry Alberoni as Glumdalclitch. Filmed in England and Spain, Gulliver was directed by Jack Sher and featured stop-motion animation and special visual effects by Ray Harryhausen. Cast includes Martin Benson as Flimnap, Lee Patterson as Reldresal, Jo Morrow as Gwendolyn, Marian Spencer as the Empress of Lilliput, Peter Bull as Lord Bermogg, and Alec Mango as the Minister of Lilliput. The film has been broadcast on American television and is available in both VHS and DVD formats.
Plot and cast
The film begins in Wapping in 1699. Dr Lemuel Gulliver (Kerwin Mathews) is an impoverished surgeon who seeks riches and adventure as a ship's doctor on a voyage around the world. His fiancée Elizabeth (June Thorburn) strongly wishes him to stay ashore and settle down in a ramshackle cottage. The two quarrel with Gulliver further saddened when a soldier patient is off to another war with Spain, having only just returned from one with France.
As Gulliver embarks on a vessel, he is soon surprised to discover Elizabeth has stowed away to be near him. A storm arises; Gulliver is swept overboard and washed to the shores of Lilliput, a land of tiny human beings who see him as a massive giant. The Lilliputians are apprehensive regarding Gulliver, namely by tying him down to the beach, but he eases their fears by performing acts of kindness. An old quarrel between Lilliput and neighboring Blefuscu is revived and Gulliver lends a hand in the proceedings by towing Blefuscu's war ships far out to sea. The Emperor of Lilliput (Basil Sydney) then views Gulliver as a potential threat to his power after he criticises the reasons for the war and arranges his execution. Gulliver escapes in a boat he has built.
He finds his way to the isle of Brobdingnag, a land of giants. A kind peasant girl named Glumdalclitch (Sherry Alberoni) finds him on the shore and carries him to the castle of King Brob (Grégoire Aslan), due to a law saying all tiny people must be brought to the King, who has a collection of 'tiny' animals. There, Gulliver is delighted to find Elizabeth, who was washed ashore after a shipwreck. The King installs the two in a dollhouse and lets Glumdalclitch look after them. The King marries Gulliver and Elizabeth. After the wedding Gulliver and Elizabeth go outside to celebrate but are attacked by a giant squirrel (one of Harryhausen's stop-motion creations) which drags Gulliver into its burrow. However, Glumdalclitch is alerted by the noise and saves Gulliver by pulling him up on her hair. When Gulliver beats the King at Chess and cures the Queen (Mary Ellis) of a stomach-ache, Prime Minister Makovan (Charles Lloyd Pack) accuses Gulliver of witchcraft. Gulliver's attempts at telling them of science is taken as further 'proof'. The King orders Gulliver's execution and pits his pet baby dwarf alligator against him whom Gulliver whacks, stabs and slays. The King orders him burned but Glumdalclitch saves Gulliver and Elizabeth from the pursuing Brobdingnagians by placing them in her sewing basket and tossing the basket into a brook that flows to the sea.
Gulliver and Elizabeth wake on a beach with the basket of Glumdalclitch in smaller size behind them. A passer-by of their own size and shape indicates they are only a short distance from their home in England. Elizabeth asks if it had all been a dream with Gulliver, now happy to settle down with Elizabeth replies that the bad qualities of the pettiness of Lilliput and ignorance of Brobdingnag are inside everyone. Elizabeth asks about Glumdalclitch with Gulliver giving her a knowing look saying that she hasn't been born yet...
In the New York Times of December 17, 1960, Eugene Archer praised the film's technical achievement in stop-motion animation and enthusiastically recommended it for children but noted, "...adults will find it all too mechanical to really capture the imagination, and may resent the unclear ending that seems certain to provoke some youthful queries. They should be grateful for a children's film that treats a classic without condescension or burlesque."
Ray Harryhausen did the squirrel and alligator sequences in the film. Ironically the oldest Harryhausen model still existing that was made for a movie is the squirrel from Gulliver, obtained from a taxidermist by Ray. The original armatured model of the alligator used in the film was mysteriously lost.
Dell Comics released a comic book adaptation of the film.
- New York Times Review Retrieved 1 September 2008.