The only thing lower case about this production is the Metro spelling of tom thumb. Otherwise, film is top-drawer, a comic fairy tale with music that stacks up alongside some of the Disney classics. It is really a musical comedy. It has five good songs, two of them by Peggy Lee.
The screenplay, from the Grimm Bros fairly tale, is as simple as it can be. A childless couple (Bernard Miles and Jessie Matthews) get a miniature son (Russ Tamblyn) when wood-cutter Miles spares a special tree in the forest surrounding their home, and is rewarded by the Forest Queen (June Thorburn).
Complications in the story come from tom’s size, only five and one-half inches. There are villains (Terry-Thomas and Peter Sellers) attempting to use tom for their own evil purposes. There is romance between Alan Young, a neighbor, and Thorburn, finally un-bewitched from a fairy queen to a real, live girl.
Highlights of the production are the musical numbers and the special effects. Alex Romero staged the dance numbers, in which Tamblyn does some of the most athletic and exciting dancing he has had a chance at since Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. Georges Perinal’s photography, with special effects by Tom Howard, catches all the fun and liveliness of the staging. The miniature work was done in Hollywood, based on George Pal’s Puppetoon figures, and the life-size work in London.
1958: Best Special Effects