Pinocchio is a substantial piece of entertainment for young and old. Both animation and photography are vastly improved over Walt Disney's first cartoon feature, Snow White. Animation is so smooth that cartoon figures carry impression of real persons and settings rather than drawings.

Pinocchio is a substantial piece of entertainment for young and old. Both animation and photography are vastly improved over Walt Disney’s first cartoon feature, Snow White. Animation is so smooth that cartoon figures carry impression of real persons and settings rather than drawings.

Extensive use of the Disney-developed multiplane camera (first used moderately for Snow White) provides some ingenious cartoon photography, allowing for camera movement similar to dolly shots. Most startling effect is the jumpy landscape as seen through the eyes of a leaping Jiminy Cricket.

Opening is similar to Snow White, establishing at the start that this is a fairy tale. Jiminy, witty, resourceful and effervescing cricket, displays the title cover and first illustrations of the book with a dialog description introducing the old woodcarver, Geppetto, and his workshop. Place abounds with musical clocks and gadgets, pet kitten and goldfish – and the completed puppet whom he names Pinocchio. Geppetto’s wish for a son on the wishing star is granted when the blue fairy appears and provides life for the puppet; with Jiminy Cricket appointed guardian of latter’s conscience. Pinocchio soon encounters villainous characters and his impetuous curiosity gets him into a series of escapades.

Cartoon characterization of Pinocchio is delightful, with his boyish antics and pranks maintaining constant interest. Jiminy Cricket is a fast-talking character providing rich humor with wisecracks and witticisms. Kindly old Geppetto is a definitely drawn character while several appearances of Blue Fairy are accentuated by novel lighting effects. Picture stresses evil figures and results of wrongdoing more vividly and to greater extent than Snow White, and at times somewhat overplays these factors for children. This is minor, however.

Popular on Variety

1940: Best Song (‘When You Wish Upon a Star’), Original Score


Production: Walt Disney/RKO. Director Ben Sharpsteen, Hamilton Luske; Producer Walt Disney; Screenplay Ted Sears, Webb Smith, Joseph Sabo, Otto Englander, William Cottrell, Aurelius Battaglia, Erdman Penner; Music Leigh Harline

Crew: (Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1940. Running time: 87 MIN.

More Film

  • Jamila Wenske

    Berlin: Jamila Wenske's Achtung Panda! Producing 'Elbow,' 'Arabic Interpreter' (EXCLUSIVE)

    German producer Jamila Wenske of Berlin-based Achtung Panda! Media has boarded two upcoming projects that explore facets of the immigrant experience in Germany. Asli Özarslan’s “Elbow” follows the turbulent life of a young Turkish woman in Berlin and her decision to move to Istanbul, while Ali Kareem Obaid’s “The Arabic Interpreter” centers on a frustrated, [...]

  • Harvey Weinstein deliberation

    Weinstein Jury Ends Day With Request for Annabella Sciorra's Testimony, No Verdict

    The jurors in the Harvey Weinstein trial ended their third day of deliberations on Thursday with a request to hear the testimony of Annabella Sciorra. The jury has now been deliberating for more than 14 hours, and will return for further deliberations on Friday morning. In a note to the judge late Thursday afternoon, the [...]

  • Goldie Hawn Bette Midler Diane Keaton

    Goldie Hawn, Bette Midler and Diane Keaton Re-Team for 'Family Jewels' Comedy

    Goldie Hawn, Bette Midler and Diane Keaton are starring in the family comedy “Family Jewels” for New Republic Pictures. It’s a reunion for the trio, 24 years after they starred in the Paramount comedy “The First Wives Club.” New Republic is planning a 2020 production start for “Family Jewels.” New Republic principals Brian Oliver and [...]

  • EFM Euro Film Policy Seminar

    Berlin: European Film Policy Seminar Examines Changing Landscape

    The Berlinale’s European Film Market opened on Thursday with the inaugural European Film Politics Seminar, offering a look at the pressing challenges facing independent European producers in a fast-changing landscape increasingly dominated by the growing number of U.S. streaming giants. The seminar was hosted by Steven Gaydos, executive vice president of global content of Variety. [...]

  • Parasite

    'Parasite' to Get Digitally Re-Mastered Imax Release for One Week

    Imax is releasing a digitally re-mastered version of Bong Joon Ho’s “Parasite” for a one-week run at select Imax locations starting Friday. “Parasite” is the first non-English-language movie ever to win the Oscar for best picture. The South Korean film took in $5.7 million at 2,002 domestic locations during the post-Oscar weekend, lifting its cumulative [...]

  • My Salinger Year

    'My Salinger Year': Film Review

    A writer writes, but there’s no evidence that Joanna Rakoff can even type when she takes the job as an assistant working for literary agent Phyllis Westberg in “My Salinger Year.” Because Rakoff went on to pen a book-length memoir about her time working for Westberg, who represented reclusive writer J.D. Salinger, we can rest [...]

  • Peter Levinsohn

    Universal's Donna Langley Promotes Peter Levinsohn to Vice Chairman of Filmed Entertainment

    Universal Filmed Entertainment Group chairman Donna Langley is bolstering her executive team following the promotion of Jeff Shell to CEO of parent company NBCUniversal. Langley has upped Universal Pictures president Peter Levinsohn to vice chairman, an internal studio memo obtained by Variety said. Levinsohn, who will also keep the previous title of chief distribution officer, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content