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Jack the Giant Killer (1962, Kerwin Mathews, Judi Meredith)

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Having previously played heroes such as Sinbad and Gulliver in effects-driven family films, Kerwin Mathews here moved on to the unlikely setting of Cornwall for this hugely enjoyable fantasy movie. The numerous battle sequences are vivid, occasionally violent but always spellbinding, with the special effects shot in Fantascope. Jack The Giant Killer is based around the legend of Pendragon, with Mathews playing the eponymous Jack, a farmer’s son who becomes the hero of the hour when he slays a giant who was abducting the king’s daughter, Princess Elaine (Judi Meredith).

The giant was controlled by the Master of Demons, Pendragon (Torin Thatcher), who is desperate to regain power in ancient England following a period of banishment. Fearful of further attacks, King Mark (Dayton Lummis) appoints Jack as his daughter’s personal bodyguard and entrusts him to escort her to a safe haven. Their sea journey is intercepted by Pendragon’s ghouls and witches, though, with Princess Elaine being captured. Jack and his young friend Peter (Roger Mobley) are thrown overboard, but saved from drowning by an old Viking, Sigurd (Barry Kelley), who possesses a magic imp (Don Beddoes) imprisoned in a bottle. The fantastical four rescue Elaine, but she’s been bewitched by Pendragon and betrays Jack. It’s up to his new friends to save him and help defeat the evil sorcerer.

An old-fashioned adventure yarn featuring everything from sea monsters and dragons to leprechauns and true-love, Jack The Giant Killer is a classic children’s movie from the days when computer-generated effects were non-existent and imagination was the key.

production details
cast
Kerwin Mathews as Jack
Judi Meredith as Princess Elaine
Torin Thatcher as Pendragon
Walter Burke as Gama
Don Beddoe as Imp
Barry Kelley as Sigurd
Dayton Lummis as King Mark
Anna Lee as Lady Constance
Roger Mobley as Peter
Robert Gist as Scottish Captain
Tudor Owen as Chancellor
Ken Mayer as Boatswain
Herman Belmonte as Nobleman (uncredited)
Sam Harris as Party Guest (uncredited)
Stuart Holmes as Celebration Guest (uncredited)
Richard LaMarr as Royal Court Member (uncredited)
Jack Mower as Nobleman (uncredited)
Monty O’Grady as Nobleman (uncredited)
Bert Stevens as Celebration Guest (uncredited)
Helen Wallace as Jack’s Mother (uncredited)

crew
Writer: Orville H Hampton, Nathan Juran
Producer: Robert E. Kent
Cinematography: David S. Horsley
Music: Paul Sawtell, Bert Shefter
Special Effects: Howard Anderson
Director: Nathan Juran

USA | 94 minutes | 1962