Newest Reviews
Whoopee Boys, The
Set, The
Cyrano de Bergerac
Death Walks in Laredo
Gemini Man
End of the Century
If Beale Street Could Talk
Raining in the Mountain
Day Shall Come, The
Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown
Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon, A
Sons of Denmark
Light of My Life
Umbrellas of Cherbourg, The
Jerky Boys, The
Chambre en Ville, Une
Mustang, The
Baie des Anges, La
Ready or Not
Seven Days in May
Hollywood Shuffle
Uncut Gems
Daniel Isn't Real
Presidio, The
Farewell, The
Challenge of the Tiger
Ad Astra
Winslow Boy, The
Pain and Glory
Judgment at Nuremberg
Rambo: Last Blood
Sansho the Bailiff
Newest Articles
Godzilla Goes to Hollywood
Demy-Wave: The Essential Jacques Demy on Blu-ray
The Makings of a Winner: Play It Cool! on Blu-ray
Sony Channel's Before They Were Famous: A Galaxy of Stars
Start Worrying and Hate the Bomb: Fail-Safe on Blu-ray
Completely Different: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 2 on Blu-ray
Bash Street Kid: Cosh Boy on Blu-ray
Seeing is Believing: Being There on Blu-ray
Top Thirty Best (and Ten Worst) Films of the 2010s by Andrew Pragasam
Top of the Tens: The Best Films of the Decade by Graeme Clark
Terrorvision: A Ghost Story for Christmas in the 1970s
Memories Are Made of This: La Jetee and Sans Soleil on Blu-ray
Step Back in Time: The Amazing Mr. Blunden on Blu-ray
Crazy Cats and Kittens: What's New Pussycat on Blu-ray
No Place Like Home Guard: Dad's Army - The Lost Episodes on Blu-ray
A Real-Life Pixie: A Tribute to Michael J. Pollard in Four Roles
We're All In This Together: The Halfway House on Blu-ray
Please Yourselves: Frankie Howerd and The House in Nightmare Park on Blu-ray
Cleesed Off: Clockwise on Blu-ray
Sorry I Missed You: Les Demoiselles de Rochefort on Blu-ray
Silliest of the Silly: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 1 on Blu-ray
Protest Songs: Hair on Blu-ray
Peak 80s Schwarzenegger: The Running Man and Red Heat
Rock On: That'll Be the Day and Stardust on Blu-ray
Growing Up in Public: 7-63 Up on Blu-ray
  tom thumb It's A Small World After AllBuy this film here.
Year: 1958
Director: George Pal
Stars: Russ Tamblyn, Alan Young, June Thorburn, Terry-Thomas, Peter Sellers, Bernard Miles, Jessie Matthews, Ian Wallace, Peter Butterworth, Peter Bull, Stan Freberg, Dal McKennon, Barbara Ferris
Genre: Musical, Fantasy, Adventure
Rating:  7 (from 2 votes)
Review: Once upon a time, many years ago, Honest Jonathan (Bernard Miles) was out in the forest where he lived trying to chop down a large tree. He had just begun when a young woman magically appeared, the Forest Queen (June Thorburn), and told him she would rather he didn't fell this particular tree; he was so astonished at her disappearing and reappearing act that he agreed to her wishes, and in return she granted him three of his own. Once he returned to his cottage, he told his wife Anne (Jessie Matthews) about this at the dinner table and wished he had a big sausage to accompany the cabbage he was offered...

Well, that was one wish gone, and soon all three were used up since the sausage was then attached to Jonathan's nose then wished off it again - what a waste. But where was our title character, the one from the Brothers Grimm fairy tales? He shows up later that night, presumably as compensation for the childless, middle-aged couple, and the adventure can commence properly in this, a musical fantasy created by something of an expert in the field during this era, George Pal, producer turned director. Here he was using MGM's British arm to realise his endeavours, which meant a cast mostly hailing from that country.

Though Tom himself was played by an American, the incredibly athletic Russ Tamblyn who had so impressed audiences earlier that decade with his dancing in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, and here was recruited to perform more of his impressive moves. First sighted wearing a leaf, because Tom is five and a half inches tall, he is quickly adopted by Jonathan and Anne, who have a whole room full of toys for him to play with, though luckily he doesn't have to exert himself pushing them about because in proto-Toy Story fashion they spring to life when the parents are not around, animated by way of Pal's patented Puppetoons, a line of stop motion which had proven very popular.

This leads to possibly the film's most famous sequence where Tom dances with the playthings, flinging himself around the set with oversized models mixed with the puppets, so dazzling in its invention that the rest of the movie has trouble living up to it. To do so they introduced a sinister element, and there are those who when watching this as an adult find the movie oddly unsettling, but then that was more faithful to the Grimm's stories than might be readily admitted. It's not as if Tom ends up like The Incredible Shrinking Man and has to battle a giant cat or spider - though you do wonder if he ever was faced with such problems due to his diminutive stature, but there are villains in this nonetheless, played by Terry-Thomas and Peter Sellers, just on the cusp of making their names internationally.

Those two want to rob the local village's bank, so persuade Tom to assist them under the pretence they need the money to give to orphans when they are planning nothing of the sort, which establishes the grand finale where Jonathan and Anne are unjustly accused of stealing the gold and threatened with a lashing, which seems unduly harsh for a family film from the fifties. All that was more interesting than the subplot where Alan Young was a woodwind (i.e. recorder) player in the village band, and wanted to marry the Forest Queen but couldn't since she was immortal and he was not, though a kiss will remedy that (couldn't she have made him immortal instead?). Along with these complications were songs by Peggy Lee, fresh off her Lady and the Tramp triumph, though she didn't pen the memorable paean to going to sleep, the Yawning Man's song here sung by the legendary Stan Freberg. There's no denying tom thumb probably plays better when you were a little kid, but it rarely flags and Pal's imagination was well-suited to this material; tumblin' Tamblyn's gymnastics remained superb.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


This review has been viewed 2803 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

Review Comments (2)

Untitled 1

Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
  Butch Elliot
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
  Rachel Franke
Enoch Sneed
Paul Smith
Paul Shrimpton


Last Updated: