The 3 Worlds of Gulliver (1960)
Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.
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The Three Worlds of Gulliver is perhaps the least known of the Charles H. Schneer-Ray Harryhausen collaborations of the 1960s, perhaps because it was withdrawn from circulation so soon after its initial release. Kerwin Mathews, star of the Schneer-Harryhausen classic Seventh Voyage of Sinbad (1957), stars as Jonathan Swift's globetrotting adventurer Lemuel Gulliver. The first "world" is Lilliput, populated with teeny-tiny people who are about to go to war because they can't agree over which end of an egg to crack. Gulliver's second stop is Brobdignag, where our hero is surrounded by giants. The third world is England, where Gulliver is thrown into a lunatic asylum when he tries to relate his astonishing adventures. Jo Morrow plays the thoroughly dispensable love interest. The script, by director Jack Sher and Arthur Ross, manages to retain a great deal of Swift's trenchant satire without detracting from the film's "fun for all ages" entertainment value. As always, Harryhausen's Dynamation special effects are superb. A lilting, semihumorous musical score by Bernard Herrmann is the icing on this cinematic cake. … More
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as Dr. Lemuel Gulliver
as King Brobdingnag
as Emperor of Lilliput
as Queen Brobdingnag
as Lord Bermogg
as Empress of Lilliput
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Critic Reviews for The 3 Worlds of Gulliver
Retains some scant measure of Swift's satiric intent, however distorted.
For a good number of fans, Bernard Herrmann's fine score is the chief appeal here.
Not a top-notch Harryhausen, but still descent with a fine Herrmann score.
Audience Reviews for The 3 Worlds of Gulliver
Very very loose adaptation of the famous Gulliver's Travels children's stories by Johnathan Swift. When I say loose I mean real loose as this film covers the first voyage of Gulliver and then parts of the second. It then ignores the remaining adventures completely and goes off on its own tangent.
It seems pretty accurate for the most part of what its covering from the novel, of course a lot is missing and it seems much is added or altered. Not that it matters really as the stories are probably too much for one film and what we get is a delightful family film that can't fail to entertain. The whole atmosphere and style with along with quaint visuals remind me very much of 'Hans Christian Anderson' with Danny Kaye, bright, bold, colourful, very pleasing performances and a cheerful easy going approach.
Speaking of performances I was surprised I really was, there is quite a bit of nice humour in this and when I say humour I don't mean kiddie laughs, I mean adults will giggle too. Its not heavy satire or rude but just nice amusing dialog that kinda leans towards Mel Brooks type material in places, but very easy going. The famous sequence where 'Gulliver' is tied down and being overlooked by 'Lilliput' officials is a really good humoured sequence with some nice chucklesome lines and visuals. Some really amusing bickering between characters and all played out really well by the cast.
Also later on when 'Gulliver' is in the land of giants ('Brobdingnag') the casting for the King and his personal magician is again very good, especially the King who such a jolly fellow. Must also mention Kerwin Matthews as 'Gulliver' who is made to measure for his role (no pun intended...or maybe it was hmm), this part fits him like a glove and he's a likeable chap too which helps. No idea who all the actors are to be honest but they are all excellent I must say.
As for good old Harryhausen...well despite this film being listed on his filmography there is little here from the great animator. Just an animated squirrel and alligator and that's it, both are great of course, the alligator being the better or more fun, but they are not seen for very long so. Sparse on Harryhausen stop motion I'm afraid.
I don't really see the heavy satire and various themes which are known within the original stories. Probably because much of the original material is missing or cut down, 'Gulliver's' time in Lilliput does show small hints of political satire from the Lillipit Emperor, his regime and decisions but I think this is mainly meant to be a family film.
I had some reservations about the film I must admit, thought it might be too tame and childish, but it turns out to be a lovely film with some outstanding visual size effects (although obvious in technique). Don't expect anything spectacular in terms of plot or ideas, the film is very basic and plays out like a bedtime story for children. But at the same time don't let that put you off because all the charming sets, perky characters and performances will make you smile.
I've never read Gulliver's Travels, so I can't make a proper comparison of story vs. film, but I'm told it's a very faithful version of it. Reuniting from their previous film The 7th Voyage of Sinbad, Harryhausen, Kerwin Matthews and the gang come back together for more "Dynamation" with The 3 Worlds of Gulliver. Love conquers all in this story, as our lead actor is put in situations where he both towers over everyone and shakes from below. The effects are fun and Bernard Herrmann's score are wonderful, but I can't help the feeling that there needs to be something new thrown into the mix. The effects stop being wonderous and imaginative and become the normal way of doing things, so new and different stories were needed to shake things up a bit. The 3 Worlds of Gulliver isn't particularly memorable, but it's decent enough of its own terms. Thankfully the Harryhausen crowd would go on to create more memorable and interesting films.
Nice fantasy, closer to the book than most versions.
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