The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm (1962)

With Atlantis completed, Pal was looking for his next picture. He had in mind Lost Eden, a story about the voyage of Captain Cook or a sequel to The Time Machine.

In 1958 M.G.M. and Cinerama signed to produce a film in the new Cinerama format. The film industry was trying new ways to lure audiances back to the theater and away from an up and coming entertainment media called television. Cinerama offered a146° view created by filming with three camera similtaniously. During a meeting between Cinerama presiden Nicholas Reisini and Sol Siegel, Resini spotted Pal's Grimm script and as he was a fan of the Grimm's tlaes loved the idea.

" Then Seigel called me and said,'How about doing Brothers Grimm in Cinerama?' I pratically fainted!"
—George Pal

"There was a big problem with Cinerama. No director wanted to touch it. George Stevens turned it down. So did William Wyler. It was just too big. So Sigel said.'You're a kind of tricky fellow. Can you see a story in Cinerama?' I told him, "Give me a week and I'll let you know.'

So I ranthe Cinerama travelogues back and forth, and finally I said, 'Let me shoot a test.' The test was rather simple. There were three panels, and so I thought, 'Play the scenes in one of the three panels. Don't try to play in the matching lines and use it to your advantage. ' For instance, if something happens in one panel, then someone comes into another panel and your attention shifts over there and so on. So I made the test, and they said, 'Fine.'
—George Pal

Early on, George Pal realized that this project wass too large to be directed by him alone. He brought in Henry Levin to direct the biography portions of the story and Pal would direct the various fairy tale stories himself.

Pal decided to film as much as possible in the homeland of the Grimm brothers, the Rhine River Valley and Bavaria.

Location shooting was held in Rothenberg ob der Tauber, Dinkelsbuehl, and castles Neuschwanstein and Weikersheim.

Back in Hollywood, 75 sets would be required to finish filming.

Project Unlimited was once again employed for special visual efects. Besides the Project Unlimited regulars of Wah Chang and Gene Warren, the team now also consisted of David Pal, Don Sahlin and Jim Danforth.

The Dragon as it appeard in the film. Note model figure of Buddy Hackett on the Dragon's neck

The jewel encrusted dragon for the Singing Bone sequence was animated by Jim Danforth. Jim would move on and become one of the industries leading stop-motion animators.

Wah Chang repairing the the Dragon years later.

The Dragon in July 2004 as it looked when going up on auction

Possibly the most enchanting stop-motion sequence is the cobbler's elves. The elves were sculpted by Wah Chang and if you look closely you'll see that one of the elves uses the faces of the Yawning Man form tom thumb. The aniamation was performed by David Pal and Don Sahlin. The sequence took four months to animate.

One morning after arriving at his M.G.M. office, Pal received a phone call from his wife, the estates of Bel Aire were on fire. Many homes were destroyed by the fire including the Pal home and along with it all the 30 years of movie momentoes from George's past projets.

The film was completed and its endearing quality lies in the fairy tale sequences. Cinerama proved to be too difficult to work with and after a few more films M.G.M. dropped the format. Six years later, M.G.M. would introduce 70mm panavision.

The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm is available on vhs through Amazon.com


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