The Pied Piper - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Pied Piper Reviews

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April 25, 2011
Nach PEAU D'ANE ein weiterer Märchenfilm von Jacques Demy, der stilistisch nach den Exzessen der Perrault-Adaption schon beinahe naturalistisch daherkommt. Demy ist hier offensichtlich vor allem an einem dà 1/4ster-schmutzigen Portrait einer von der Gier des eines sich ankà 1/4ndigen Kapitalismus und der Grausamkeit des Klerus und der Inquisition gezeichneten mittelalterlichen Gesellschaft interessiert, und setzt den Hippie-Barden Donovan vermutlich sehr bewusst als Fremdkörper in diese finstere Welt hinein. Ob das Versprechen des Blumenkindertums nun als ein utopischer Lichtblick funktionieren soll, oder doch - wie das vom Papagei nachgekrächzte Liebeslied von Catherine Deneuve in PEAU D'ANE - als naive Träumerei demaskiert wird, das bleibt jedenfalls am Ende relativ offen.
½ July 26, 2010
Jacques Demy trying to take Peau D' Ane a step ahead combining the magic of fairy tales with reality. I don't think he succeeds as much as he'd like.
Super Reviewer
½ April 21, 2010
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.
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