The Pied Piper

Critics Consensus

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44%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 9

25%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 81

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Movie Info

A caravan of performers travels to Hamelin, Germany, to celebrate the marriage of Franz (John Hurt) to the burgomaster's ailing daughter, Lisa (Cathryn Harrison). Fearing that they carry the plague, however, the townsfolk will not let them in until it is discovered that the music played by the group's piper (Donovan) has cured Lisa. Once inside, the piper strikes a deal with the burgomaster to also rid the town of rats. But when the piper doesn't receive his due, he exacts a terrible revenge.

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Critic Reviews for The Pied Piper

All Critics (9) | Top Critics (3) | Fresh (4) | Rotten (5)

Audience Reviews for The Pied Piper

  • May 20, 2009
    Jacques Demy's retelling of "The Pied Piper" is nowhere near as enchanting as his earlier "Donkey Skin," and the reasons are easy to see. First and foremost: Donovan. Which would you prefer, a movie starring Donovan with music by Donovan, or one starring Catherine Deneuve with music by Michel Legrand? Not much of a contest, is it? Both Demy and Donovan realize the problem with the pop star's acting, and thus he is given few lines. More often, he's singing songs (three of them) with an acoustic guitar or blowing melodies in character on his pipe. Otherwise, most dialogue centers on the good/evil battle within the townspeople, as all struggle to combat the apocalyptic outbreak of the plague. Michael Hordern plays Melius, an alchemist who hopes to whip up a solution in his cluttered hovel. Jack Wild (a couple of years after his much-loved work on "HR Pufnstuf") plays Melius's lame assistant, showing mostly that he's quite good at scuttling around on a crutch. Donald Pleasance is the corrupt burgermeister, while John Hurt plays a privileged jerk aiming to marry a young -- very young -- ingenue (Cathryn Harrison, so fascinating a few years later in "Black Moon"). A posse of intolerant cardinals also storms about, and you're starting to picture scenes from a concurrent Monty Python sketch, you're easily forgiven. Except there is little, if any, humor in this tale. Surprisingly, Demy's "Piper" is not so well-suited for children. The visuals are unavoidably short on dazzle since it's a story not about kings and castles but about a poor, rat-infested village. Also, the ending is quite downbeat, and includes a character being burned at the stake, the failed attempt to stop the plague and, of course, the piper luring away all the town's children. Demy soft-pedals the latter by not suggesting the kids have been led to death and (strangely) not even depicting the townspeople's anguished discovery of the abduction. But still, this is hardly a "happily ever after" finish.
    Eric B Super Reviewer

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