tom thumb

I enjoyed a wonderful fantasy film from 1958 called “tom thumb.”  This title, left uncapitalized, stars Russ Tamblyn as the title character and Terry-Thomas and Peter Sellers as the villains who trick Tom into burglarizing the village treasury.  Alan Young,  better known as Wilber on Mister Ed, helps Tom capture the crooks just as the lasher prepares to flog his parents for the crime.

They must have watched this movie at Pixar before they made “Toy Story.”  The toys in tom thumb seem very similar to the Toy Story toys in the way they move, although they are not at all neurotic.  They remain happy and do not seem capable of sadness.  Only tom sees the toys come to life, and he not only dances with them but helps solve problems with them — especially a toy named Con-Fu-Shon, a Chinese doll who bangs a gong.  At one point, Con-Fu-Shon suggests getting the Jack-in-the-box to open the bedroom door, which provides a nice animated trick.

We only see one close-up of Russ Tamblyn as Tom Thumb.  That’s because the illusion of his smallness demands he be filmed from above against large props.  But he’s certainly a lot larger than a thumb and probably about the size of a hand.  The camera angles reminded me of a TV show that aired in the late 1960s called “Land of the Giants.”  However, the film creates no suspense around Tom’s smallness, although he does inevitably get lost in the forest.  Even though magical things could come to his rescue, he uses his ingenuity and resolve to save the day.

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