Thursday, October 27, 2011

Bad Things Happen to Bad Children

Pinnochio is nothing like you remember.

From a piece on Slate...

I always imagined him as a cheerful little puppet who desires nothing more than to be transformed into a real live boy. That is the Pinocchio depicted in Walt Disney’s adaptation, which whitewashed Collodi’s tale when it was released in 1940. It’s hard to blame Disney—Pinocchio is a rotten kid.

Early in the project, in fact, Disney became so frustrated with Collodi’s story that he halted production. It was unsuitable for children, Disney concluded: Pinocchio was too cocky, too much of a wiseguy, and too puppetlike to be sympathetic. Finally a compromise was reached. Pinocchio’s wish would be fulfilled from the start. He would not be depicted as a puppet after all but as a real boy, and a gentle, winsome one at that. Similarly the “Talking-Cricket,” a minor nameless character, became Jiminy Cricket, a tiny bald-headed man who serves as the puppet’s voice of conscience. (In the book, when the cricket scolds Pinocchio for rebelling against his father, Pinocchio bashes the insect’s brains out with a hammer.) And Disney turned a single scene—in which Pinocchio’s nose grows when he tells a lie—into a central motif. The moral of the film is that if you are brave and truthful, and you listen to your conscience, you will find salvation. Collodi’s moral is that you if you behave badly and do not obey adults, you will be bound, tortured, and killed.

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