September 4, 2018  (Web Review)

Jack the Giant Killer

Kino Lorber, 185 min., G, DVD: $19.99, Blu-ray: $29.99

Reviewer rating: 3.0/4

Nathan Juran’s 1962 fantasy, drawn from Cornish fairy tales, obviously copies the inescapably superior Ray Harryhausen/Sinbad stop-motion spectacles from the same era, boasting f/x filming in “Fantascope” (which was actually a suite of 3D animation and cartoon-solarization gimmicks—some better than others). After rescuing a princess from an evil sorcerer’s kidnap attempt, farmboy Jack (Kerwin Mathews) is appointed as the girl’s royal protector, which entails combat against a menagerie of magical menaces—i.e., creatures (mostly giant) who unfortunately tend to look more toy-like than terrifying. Although a box-office disappointment, the film still holds nostalgic value as a colorful kiddie-matinee staple from a less cynical era. Presented in both its original form and as a little-seen 1970s musical (with mood-breaking tunes by songwriter Moose Charlap, an intrusive effect one blogger has called “magnificently awful”), extras include audio commentary by film historian Tim Lucas. Recommended. (C. Cassady)