Freak beat, loungecore, 60's French chicks, exotica funk, Bollywood, big band, ye ye, psychedelic bubblegum, kooky Japanese, spy themes, bossa nova, blaxploitation, hipster grooves, sunshine pop, Euro beats, Chinatowns. As well as contemporary artists who delve retro. Music & film related.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Can we get a DVD release please?

Directed by: Chuck Jones, Abe Levitow & Dave Monahan (live action sequences).
Starring: Butch Patrick & the voice of Mel Blanc
Soundtrack: Dean Elliot.
Based on the Novel by: Norton Juster.

Plot: The Phantom Tollbooth tells the story of a bored boy named Milo who drives through a magic tollbooth into the Kingdom of Wisdom. The rulers of the kingdom's two major cities, Dictionopolis and Digitopolis, are engaged in an endless quarrel about whether words or numbers are superior. Milo discovers that harmony can only be restored if he rescues the twin princesses of sweet Rhyme and pure Reason. His pun-rich travels include trips to Conclusions (you jump there, of course) and the silence-filled Valley of Sound, culminating in an attempt to rescue the princesses, who are guarded by horrible beasts like the Gross Exaggeration and the Threadbare Excuse.

Okay, so the author called the film 'drivel' when it came out, but all I can recall is that it was freaky looking, educational & wondrous children's film. Even the songs have still resonated. Especially teh one set in the 'doldrums'. Mind you, it must be over 30 years since I last saw it & time can make terrible things seem so much better through a hazy memory. Warner own the rights via the MGM connection & are rumoured to make it as a live action film one day. Technology is now here to make it possible, but I reckon they'd go with CGI instead. Do try & find the book, for it has that Dr Seuss type quality in that it's quite cryptic in its language, yet simplistic in its delivery.

The book was written in Brooklyn, NY in 1961 & adapted into a feature film by Warner brothers main animator, the late Chuck Jones. Milo, as played by Butch Patrick (Freddie on The Munsters TV show) appears briefly in the flesh before transforming into an animated version once he enters through the tollbooth that is plonked in his loungeroom. The live action sequences bookend the film & from memory we don't get to see any other real live himans in the film. For some reason I recall a goldfish. Classic animation voices or comedic actors like Daws Butler, Hans Conreid & the legendary June Foray also provide the voices.

It's probably not as good as I remember, but surely its better then half the 'drivel they release on DVD. It is due for a remake... Mr Tim Burton perhaps?


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