Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Tuesday's Overlooked Film: The Phantom Tollbooth

For this week's Tuesday's Overlooked Film, I'm going back to a movie I featured several years ago before I was involved with the Overlooked meme--the live action/animation hybrid The Phantom Tollbooth.

Based on the classic young readers novel by Norton Juster and Jules Feiffer, The Phantom Tollbooth stars Butch Patrick (Eddie from The Munsters) as Milo, a boy who is completely bored by the world around him. Nothing gives him a reason to be interested in or care about anything. Lo and behold, a magical tollbooth appears in his bedroom that transports him to an animated wonderland, where he encounters a watchdog (complete with a clock in his belly), a prickly Humbug (think C3P0 or Doctor Smith from Lost in Space), a boy who grows down instead of up, and many other bizarre characters. Along the way, he learns to care and appreciate the world around him.

The animation was designed and supervised by the legendary Chuck Jones, and his style is clearly evident throughout the animated sequences. I only saw the movie once as a child, but I fell in love with it immediately. Just a couple of years ago, I decided to read the book for the first time and enjoyed that as well. Unfortunately, author Juster didn't care for the film and preferred the book be adapted into a completely live action film.

I'll let you judge for yourself whether the existing film is up to snuff. Here it is in its entirety. My previous post from 2009 has a dead link to the film, so I'm happy to showcase a better link here. Enjoy!

1 comment:

Jamie Ghione said...

I was in a children's theatre class at a community college in 1991 and we did this play. Another girl who aced in the play found a copy of this movie on VHS and let others in the play borrow it. We altered the play a little: made the lead into a little girl and the kings into queens (we had a lot of girls in our acting class!) And some characters and scenes were deleted because we had to keep the play at one hour.