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August 16, 2010

138. Pinocchio
Produced by Walt Disney
USA, 1940

IMDB | allmovie

Reviewed by Ally
Umpteenth viewing (second post-childhood)


When kindly woodcarver Gepetto wishes on a star, his marionette puppet Pinocchio is brought to life by the Blue Fairy. But Pinocchio will only become a real boy when he proves himself brave, truthful and unselfish. The role of Pinocchio’s conscience is assigned to Jiminy Cricket, but steering him clear of temptation isn’t easy, especially with foxy J. Worthington Foulfellow (aka “Honest John”) on the prowl.

Essential Scene:

Pinocchio has been led astray by “Honest John” for the second time. He is taken to Pleasure Island, a debauched funfair where bad little boys can misbehave to their heart’s content. Pinocchio makes friends with Lampwick and the pair spend the evening playing pool, smoking cigars and drinking beer.

But there are sinister consequences. Lampwick begins to change, sprouting ears and a tail. The once-nonchalant boy begs hysterically for help as his hands turn into hooves. Then, in a piece of unexplainable horror worthy of David Lynch, we see his silhouette transform into that of a donkey. He cries for his mother but his voice becomes a bray. Lampwick has truly made a jackass of himself.

Jiminy Cricket, having discovered the terrible secret of Pleasure Island, races to the rescue but Pinocchio has already sprouted ears and a tail. He’ll have to learn his lesson pretty damn quickly…


The film Pinocchio is, much like the eponymous puppet, a piece of handcrafted beauty. As an adult I found the moral as transparent as the Blue Fairy, but the story is told with such warmth that I just had to put aside my inherent cynicism for a while.


Reviewed by Rachel
Umpteenth viewing (first post-childhood)

Essential Scene:

Pinocchio is imprisoned by the nasty Puppet Master Stromboli and not even Jiminy Cricket can help him. Despite Jiminy’s attempts at optimism, they sit in the cage with an air of melancholia.

Suddenly the Blue Fairy appears and asks Pinocchio why he didn‘t go to school. Pinocchio starts to make up a story but each lie he tells makes his nose grow bigger. His nose ends up a ridiculous size, and the Blue Fairy tells him…

A lie keeps growing and growing, until it’s as plain as the nose on your face.


Pinocchio is a film that lingers a while after you‘ve seen it. The horrific transformation scene made me feel as uneasy now as it did when I was a child. But the warmth of Pinocchio’s family home prevails and leaves you feeling decidedly chipper. (No weak pun intended…) The animation is breathtaking and the music is beautiful, courtesy of one of my favourite musicians (and voice of Jiminy Cricket), Cliff Edwards.

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