Charlotte's Web (1973 movie)
||The English used in this article may not be easy for everybody to understand. (March 2012)|
|Directed by||Charles A. Nichols
|Produced by||Joseph Barbera
|Written by||E. B. White (book)
Earl Hamner Jr.
|Music by||Richard M. Sherman
Robert B. Sherman
|Editing by||Larry C. Cowan
|Distributed by||Paramount Pictures|
|Release date(s)||March 1, 1973|
|Running time||94 minutes|
|Followed by||Charlotte's Web 2: Wilbur's Great Adventure (2003)|
Charlotte's Web is a 1973 animated movie, based on the 1952 book with the same name by E. B. White. It was made into an animated musical movie by Hanna Barbera Productions and Sagittarius Productions in 1973. The movie, distributed to theatres by Paramount Pictures on March 1, 1973, is the first of only three Hanna Barbera features not based upon one of their famous television cartoons —Heidi's Song (1982) and Once Upon a Forest (1993) being the other two—and was neutrally successful among both critics and at the movie theatres. The song score of music and lyrics was written by the Sherman Brothers, who had also been done the music in other family movie like The Jungle Book (1967).
The movie has also found popularity over the years because of television and VHS; in 1994 the movie became one of the best selling movies of the year, 21 years after its first premiere. No other non-Disney musical animated movie has make such a great comeback in popularity which inspried a direct-to-video sequel, Charlotte's Web 2: Wilbur's Great Adventure, which Paramount released in the US on March 18, 2003 (Universal released the movie internationally), followed by a live-action movie version of E. B. White's original story, which was released on December 15, 2006. The movie was presented by Pulitzer Prize in 1985, the year in which author E. B. White died. E. B. White himself wrote about the nature of this work based on the original owner of the public.
A litter of 11 piglets are born to a sow on a farm owned by the Arable family. The 11th of the 11 baby pigs is a runt and the sow cannot feed it. so John Arable decides to "do away with it". However, when his daughter, Fern Arable, hears of the pig's fate she rescues him and tells it is unfair to kill a helpless piglet since it is smaller than the others. John agrees and Fern is allowed to keep the runt piglet as a pet naming him Wilbur. Fern and Wilbur loved each other. Fern takes Wilbur around in a baby carriage and gives him a bath. However, after only six weeks of raising him, John Arable tells Fern that it's time for him to be sold (his 10 brothers and sisters were already sold). And Wilbur was no longer a baby pig but a full grown pig. Fern sadly says good-bye as the young pig is sold down the street to her uncle, Homer Zuckerman. When Wilbur wants to play with a lamb, the lamb's father (known as a ram) says that sheep do not play with pigs because it's only a matter of time before they are turned into smoked bacon and ham. Wilbur starts crying saying that he does not want to die, but a voice from above tells him to "chin up". Wilbur goes to sleep comforted
The next day she sings a song about "chinning up", and reveals herself to be a spider named Charlotte. Charlotte saves Wilbur by writing messages in her web, hence the title of the movie. She starts to write messages in her web, calling him "terrific" and "some pig." The messages get a lot of attention from the media and other neighbors to the fair. Wilbur is such a media hit that this convinces the Arables, Zuckermans and Fussys to keep him and not kill him. Charlotte eventually lays her eggs and dies. When the baby spiders are born (514), most of them leave. Three of them stay, and for a number of years a few of Charlotte's kids stay around the farm and keep Wilbur company. But as much as Wilbur loves them, they will never replace the memory of his friend Charlotte.
|Debbie Reynolds||Charlotte A. Cavatica|
|Pamelyn Ferdin||Fern Arable|
|Bob Holt||Homer Zuckerman|
|Joan Gerber||Edith Zuckerman/Mrs. Fussy|
|John Stephenson||John Arable|
|Martha Scott||Mrs. Arable|
The movie was released to theaters on March 1, 1973 by Paramount Pictures in the United States. It was released limitedly on February 22, 1973 in New York City, and also released in West Germany on March 30, 1973, as well as August 11 in Sweden, and August 25 in Japan.
Rotten Tomatoes says that that the movie has a 74% "fresh" rating based on 19 reviewes, with a score of 6.6. The RT community gave the movie an 86% apporval rating, with a score of 7/10. Craig Butler of All-Movie Guide criticized the animation and the musical score, but said it was a faithful adaptation, saying that, “no attempt has been made to soften the existential sadness at the story's core” (no one tried to soften the major sad parts of the story, like when Charlotte dies at the end). Dan Jardine criticized the songs and the “Saturday morning cartoon quality” of the animation, but also says that Hamner kept just enough of White’s prose to keep the movie from being simply a painfully well-intended experiment. Christopher Null of Filmcritic.com said that the animation is sometimes “downright bad, but E. B. White's classic fable needs little to make it come to life”. He later went on to say that the movie is “a must-own for anyone with children, and a must-see for everyone else.” He rated it four out of five stars. When it was reissued on DVD the movie was awarded an Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Award.
E.B. White's Reaction[change]
According to Gene Deitch, a director of animation and friend of E. B. White, the author's wife wrote the following words in a 1977 letter: "We have never ceased to regret that your version of "Charlotte's Web" never got made. The Hanna-Barberra version has never pleased either of us... a travesty..." E.B. White himself wrote of the film: "The story is interrupted every few minutes so that somebody can sing a jolly song. I do not care much for jolly songs. The Blue Hill Fair, which I tried to report faithfully in the book, has become a Disney World, with 76 trombones. But that's what you get for getting embroiled in Hollywood."
- "Chin Up"
- "I Can Talk!"
- "Zuckerman's Famous Pig"
- "A Veritable Smorgasbord"
- "We've Got Lots In Common"
- "Mother Earth and Father Time"
- "There Must Be Something More"
- "Deep In The Dark/Charlotte's Web"
"Chin Up" is sung by Charlotte the spider when she first meets Wilbur the pig in the barnyard. She convinces him to look on the bright side.
"I Can Talk!" is sung by Wilbur the pig who had previously been unable to utter words. The Goose realizes as she is sitting on her eggs that her new neighbor in the pen beside her, Wilbur the pig, has not been eating his food, and that he seems to be downhearted. She offers him an ear if he will come over to her and talk since she cannot get off of her eggs. But soon she realizes that Wilbur cannot talk. She encourages him to try... And with a couple grunts, and a "Wa... Wa... Wa" "Wi... Wi... Will...bur.. WILBUR!" Suddenly, with the Goose's help, Wilbur realizes he can talk and say all the things he wants. Wilbur sings a song about his newfound linguistical skills, while waking up some of the other farm animals with his middle of the night excitement.
"A Veritable Smorgasbord" is introduced and sung in the story by the Goose, reprised by the Goose and Templeton. It is reprised once more, this time at a "double time" tempo sung solo by Templeton.
"Zuckerman's Famous Pig" is the title given to Wilbur the pig hero which saves him from being slaughtered in the story, and the theme of the finale song in the movie. The song was composed and arranged in a barbershop quartet style by the Sherman Brothers, in keeping with the time and place of the story. It was covered by the Brady Kids and was chosen for release on their first single taken from The Brady Bunch Phonographic Album by producer Jackie Mills.
"We've Got Lots in Common" is sung by Wilbur to the new gosling, Jeffery, who, like Wilbur, is a runt. Wilbur passes on one of the lessons which Charlotte has taught him. The other barnyard animals sing along as well. In the promotional trailer for distributors a rare piece of footage of the Sherman Brothers singing "We've Got Lots In Common" can be seen. In the footage, Richard Sherman plays piano while Robert Sherman stands over his brother's shoulder and sings along. The song was shot in an unnamed recording studio in Los Angeles in 1972.
"Mother Earth and Father Time" is introduced in the story by Charlotte and reprised once more in the movie as Charlotte is dying. According to The Annotated Charlotte's Web by Peter F. Neumeyer, some fans of the book are not in favor of the song's placement in the movie because it supplants E. B. White's narrative words, "...And she didn't move again." which purists find extremely moving. The Sherman Brothers' father, songwriter Al Sherman, believed the Charlotte's Web song score, and "Mother Earth and Father Time" in particular, to be the brothers' finest work. The lyric addresses the idea of putting perspective on one's life. In the storyline the song is sung by Charlotte at the end of her life. Ironically, Al Sherman died shortly after the movie was released.
"There Must Be Something More" is introduced in the story when Fern is learning about love from a little runt she saved from an "untimely death", when her father was about to "do away with it". Fern found it to be an injustice, and relates herself, saying to her father if she had been small, would he have killed her too? Her father gives in and lets her raise the pig she names Wilbur. Fern learns about Love and Life through Wilbur, and sings a song to tell Wilbur just how much she loves him. The song goes through the first two weeks of Wilbur's life with Fern. The song is sung by Fern to a baby Wilbur in a motherly way. The song is then reprised briefly by Wilbur when Fern gets a bit older begins to show an interest in young "Henry Fussy". Suddenly Wilbur is no longer as much of a priority in Fern's life. Charlotte explains to Wilbur that this is the nature of the world.
"Charlotte's Web" is the title song of the movie. In the movie the song is sung back-to-back with "Deep in the Dark". The title song was covered by The Brady Bunch among others. In the movie, Charlotte tells Wilbur to go to sleep, and she would see him in the morning, and she sings a song called "Deep In the Dark" to put the barnyard to sleep.
The title song was covered by The Brady Bunch among others: The Brady Bunch Phonographic Album features three Sherman Brothers songs including "River Song" from Tom Sawyer, "Zuckerman's Famous Pig" and "Charlotte's Web". Their cover of the song is also featured on their "Greatest hits" album It's a Sunshine Day: The Best of The Brady Bunch.
- Butler, Craig. "Charlotte’s Web: Review". All-Movie Guide. Macrovision Corporation. http://www.allmovie.com/cg/avg.dll?p=avg&sql=1:9012~T1. Retrieved 2009-01-28.
- Jardine, Dan. "Charlotte's Web". Apollo Guide. Apollo Communications Ltd.. http://apolloguide.com/mov_fullrev.asp?CID=3484. Retrieved 2009-01-28.
- Null, Christopher (2001). "Charlotte's Web (1973)". Filmcritic.com. http://www.filmcritic.com/misc/emporium.nsf/reviews/Charlottes-Web-(1973). Retrieved 2009-01-28.
- "Early School Years: Feature-Length Films". Oppenheim Toy Portfolio. http://www.toyportfolio.com/Earlyschool/ChapterSubChapterVideo.asp?Chapter=Videos&SubChapter=Feature-Length%20Films. Retrieved 2009-04-22.
- Deitch, Gene. How to Succeed in Animation: Chapter 27: A Tangled Web (p.3). 2001. Accessed on: September 27, 2008.
- Burr, Ty. Bard of the barn. The Boston Globe. December 10, 2006. Accessed on: September 27, 2008.
- Richard Chigley Lynch, Movie Musicals on Record, ISBN 9780313265402, http://books.google.com/books?id=CctHAAAAMAAJ
- Kim Cooper, David Smay, Jake Austen, Bubblegum Music is the Naked Truth, ISBN 9780922915699, http://books.google.com/books?id=X4Y5NIyCikIC
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Charlotte's Web (1973 film)|