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
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!"
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.'
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
Location shooting was held
in Rothenberg ob der Tauber, Dinkelsbuehl, and castles Neuschwanstein
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
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.
Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm is available on vhs