Jonathan Swift’s 18th-century satire has been a rich source of inspiration for filmmakers, including George Méliès in 1902 and an animated film in 1939, but Jack Sher’s full-length live action film The Three World of Gulliver is an immensely enjoyable family saga. Kerwin Mathews (who previously starred in The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad and went on to appear in Hammer’s The Pirates of Blood River) stars as the eponymous Gulliver, although the real star is special effects guru Ray Harryhausen, who again uses the magic of his Superdynamation to create stunning effects throughout.
Mathews is Lemuel Gulliver, a ship’s surgeon whose argument with fiancée Elizabeth (June Thorburn) is cut short when he’s washed overboard by a giant wave. He lands on the island of Lilliput, where he discovers that the inhabitants are all only six inches tall. A giant among these men and women, his size and strength make him a big asset to the Lilliputians and the Emperor of Lilliput (Basil Sydney), who enjoy happiness and prosperity thanks to their new ally. That, however, doesn’t stop them waging war with rival island Blefscu, forcing Gulliver to leave in disgust.
Swimming away, he next discovers the island of Brobdingnag where, conversely, he’s a tiny creature in a land populated by giants. Here, though, he’s reunited with Elizabeth, with the two of them being kept as household pets. The Brobdingnagians are stupid and superstitious people, and Gulliver attracts the wrath of Makovan (Charles Lloyd Pack), the sorcerer at the court of King Brobdingnag (Grégoire Aslan). Pronounced a witch, it’s only the intervention of Glumdalclitch (Sherri Alberoni) that saves Gulliver from the jaws of a crocodile. How will Gulliver and Elizabeth escape, and will they ever get back to England?
UK – USA / 1960
Director: Jack Sher
Writer: Arthur Ross, Jack Sher (based on the novel by Jonathan Swift)
Cast: Kerwin Mathews, Jo Morrow, June Thorburn, Lee Patterson, Grégoire Aslan, Basil Sydney, Sherri Alberoni, Charles Lloyd Pack