One of the things I enjoy about rematching these tales as an adult is the sinister undertones present, along with some very strong sexual themes. Adults are playing all these roles, and it feels as if they were directed almost more for an adult audience rather than just children. Rapunzel was one of the ones I remembered most clearly from my childhood and had a magical combination of all those adult and child qualities that has kept it fascinating since I first saw it over twenty years ago.
Directed By: Gilbert Cates
Written By: David Wyles
Staring: Jeff Bridges, Gena Rowlands, Shelley Duvall, and Roddy McDowell
Jeff Bridges, Gena Rowlands, and Shelley Duvall star in this adaptation, with Bridges and Duvall playing multiple roles, which is common in a lot of these stories. Rowlands plays the epic witch that takes Rapunzel away from her parents and raises her claiming to be her mother. When she becomes curious about men her witch “mother” imprisons her in a tower where she can only be reached by climbed he ridiculously long hair. In spite of the witches warnings Rapunzel falls for a prince and when the witch discovers their love affair she reigns terror!
What I like about a lot of these but this one in particular is the way it is performed as though on stage, just slightly over the top, but it works for television. The comedy is still funny because it’s done classically and the romance is believable because this is an age old story ingrained in our minds. With extremely talented and strong actors playing these roles it goes beyond just a fun campy show, it actually gives them levels of genuine performance. Rapunzel was one of the best of the bunch to exude all these qualities.
Directed By: Jeremy Kagan
Written By: Jeffrey Alan Fiskin
Based On The Book By: Charles Perrault
Staring: Bernadette Peters, Christopher Reeve, Beverly D’Angelo, Rene Auberjonois, Carol Kane, Sally Kellerman, and Richard Libertini
This version of Sleeping Beauty focuses on things mostly from the perspective of mom and Dad, and the prince, long before our Beauty actually pricks her finger on a spindle. With strong performances from Christopher Reeves and Bernadette Peters, the melancholy tale is far more twisted than the Disney version we are all used to. The end result is the same but its a pretty fun ride getting there. I thoroughly enjoyed the interpretation.
The Princess And The Tale Of The Frog Prince
Written and Directed By: Eric Idle
Staring: Robin Williams, Shelley Duvall, Teri Garr, Rene Auberjonois, Michael Richards, and Roberta Maxwell
Shelley Duvall and Robin Williams are reunited from the film Popeye, though this time around he’s romantically paired with the snobby princess played by Teri Garr. Clearly Robin Williams comical timing really came threw on this one making the goofy looking frog likable, charming, and humorous. There is a strange sexual tension that plays throughout, and though the ending is kind of abrupt it was one of the more memorable ones for me.