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Thursday, December 20, 2012

Hans Brinker (1969)

Set in 1838 Holland, when their father (John Gregson) is seriously injured in a fall from a dike, the Brinker family must struggle and take whatever menial work is available to support themselves. Young Hans (Robin Askwith) and his sister Gretel (Roberta Tovey) dream of entering and winning the Silver Skates competition but they can't afford new skates and must do with homemade wooden skates. Based on the popular children's book HANS BRINKER, OR THE SILVER SKATES by Mary Mapes Dodge, this wholesome family musical is too saccharine to be enjoyable though there is one disturbing sequence when the father attempts to kill the mother (Eleanor Parker, whose singing voice is dubbed by Sandy Stewart). The sappy tunes by Moose Charlap (the Mary Martin PETER PAN) are an uninspired lot and the one good song, the lively Proper Manners is undermined by poor staging. Filmed in Germany and the Netherlands. Directed by Robert Scheerer. With Richard Basehart and Cyril Ritchard.

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