Rumpelstiltskin (Cannon Movie Tales, 1987)

“A musical version of the classic story about a miller’s daughter who recieves help from a mischievous dwarf, then ends up over her head. Now, she and a mute servant girl may be the only hope for her baby son, John”

– Max Vaughn, IMDB.

Rumpelstiltskin was the first Cannon Movie Tale film released in the U.S. It stars Amy Irving as Katie, the Millar’s Daughter. Amy Irving previously appeared in Carrie, The Fury, and would go on to voice the character “Miss Kitty” in An American Tail: Fievel Goes West. Billy Barty, who plays the titular Rumpelstiltskin, previously appeared in Willow, Legend, and the live action Masters of the Universe movie. This film is, according to Wikipedia, is Barty’s only lead role. Amy Irving’s mother, Priscilla Pointer, co-stars in the film as Queen Grizelda. According to Wikipedia, Rumpelstiltskin was screened at the 1987 Cannes Film Festival as the opening night attraction of its “Family film festival”.

Some thoughts from me (Potential spoilers below…)
To start off, I found myself quite enjoying this one! It was a fair bit goofier than Cannon’s Beauty and the Beast, which made for a much more enjoyable movie experience. All of the goofiness comes from the various characters and their motivations.

Rumple starts off the film whining about how he wants a young boy to be his servant, to cook and clean for him while he goes off and causes trouble. Not just any kid will do though, he’s got to have a King’s son to cook his meals for him… which means that the whole thing with the Miller’s daughter is his way of manufacturing a baby Prince servant from the ground up. Rumple’s undoing is his inability to settle for a baby with a less royal pedigree!

The Miller’s daughter is introduced to us through her “I want” song, where she tells us how she’d love to become Queen one day, and all the cool stuff that being a Queen would net her… oh and also she’d get to marry a Prince I guess. That’s cool too. I was kinda wondering if she’d be a really selfish character, but outside of her introductory song she’s actually pretty down to earth.

The wackiest character of them all (Yes, including Rumple) is the King. The King has an intense fixation on gold. When he hears the rumour that the Miller’s Daughter can spin straw into gold, he practically starts salivating. After forcing the Miller’s Daughter through the first trial, he’s questioned by his son as to why he’s so dead set on getting more gold. The King responds with “I’M GREEDY”, and begins a song and dance number about just how greedy he is. I’ll give him points for honesty!

With all that said, I do feel like this one is a bit too long for it’s own good. It’s an hour and 24 minutes, and that probably could’ve been shaved down a fair bit to make for a better paced movie. I think part of this is just due to the nature of the Rumpelstiltskin story. As is the case with the original fairy tale, Rumple spins straw into gold three times before he’s dispatched with, meaning there’s a lot of repetition built into the story. Thankfully, there’s enough weirdness sprinkled throughout the movie that keeps your attention.

Overall, I’d recommend this one! I’m looking forward to showing this one off at a future movie night.


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