The evil sorcerer Pendragon wants to rule the Kingdom of Cornwall, to achieve this he needs to kidnap the King’s daughter Elaine. With his trusty servant Garna controlling a rather bad tempered giant, his plan doesn’t quite succeed thanks to local farm boy Jack. The King decides to send Elaine to safety and entrusts Jack to protect her. Unfortunately Pendragon’s witches abduct Elaine so Jack has to save the day with the help of an Irish Imp (complete with comedy accent) in a bottle and a Viking who happens to rescue Jack from the sea.
The film is packed with plenty of action sequences with some charming stop (clay) motion creatures. The giant is great and I loved the witches with their camp make up and their cheap halloween style costumes. The film has some great sets and all the Kingdom of Cornwall’s clothes and barnets seem to have been borrowed from old Robin Hood films complete with their tights. Also, I really enjoyed the clever use of basic animation and colour filtering to compliment the SFX sequences, sure it looks dated but who cares when you are having such a great time.
With two of the stars (Kerwin Mathews and Torin Thatcher – who is completely magnificent as Pendragon especially when wearing his cape) and director (Nathan Juran) from The 7th Voyage of Sinbad, Jack the Giant Killer is an entertaining romp and suitable for kids of all ages (adults especially). It’s not as good as the Harryhausen films, but it is one of those films all scholars of fantasy films should have in their collection.
Years later, some ‘genius’ tried to turn the film into a musical and it was re edited and released. Obviously it was a disaster and the film 101 Films have blessed us with is the theatrical version. The musical version hasn’t been released thankfully. For this review I did find a snippet of it on YouTube and if it’s real, it is very bad and not in a good way.
I’ll tell you what, Bryan Singer has got one hell of a pair of boots to fill next year with his remake.
- Starring Kerwin Mathews Judi Meredith Torin Thatcher
- Director Nathan Juran
- Distributor 101 Films