Shelley Duvall's Faerie Tale Theatre: Sleeping Beauty (1983) (TV). Jeremy Kagan, director.
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This was really entertaining for me, especially because I remember watching the series as a child and I now better understand the humor. In fact, I felt like maybe this was a little too risqué for children and am curious if it was originally intended for kids? The queen is unhappy but she doesn’t know why. A little woman pops out of what appears to be a jewelry box and explains to her that the reason she is sad is because she wants to have a baby. She then whispers to her how to go about making one (we don’t hear this), the queen whispers to the king, and they go under the covers. Another scene I thought was a bit much was between the prince (Christopher Reeve) and an ill-intentioned princess (Bernadette Peters). The prince has been searching and searching for a bride, but cannot find someone who is as kind as he. He is very interested in helping the poor, so this princess convinces him to take all the pearls off of her midriff top, with his teeth (claiming that the pearls could be used to help the needy). It turns out that this princess was in fact the evil fairy in disguise. The evil fairy makes another disguised appearance as the old lady who leads the princess to prick her finger. The prince encounters the wicked one as he attempts to get through the briars, and this time she is a giant (I have to say that I think the special effects were probably not that great, even for 1983). Like in the Disney film, he kills the fairy and then enters the castle to save the day.
The presentation of the woodcutter telling the tale to the prince and his squire was reminiscent of the frame stories often used in traditional tales, and I liked this aspect. Setting the story in Russia was also an interesting twist (although it bothered me that some characters had accents and some did not). I did enjoy watching this, but I’m just not sure that such suggestive scenes are appropriate for young kids. I could definitely see older kids and adults developing a new appreciation for fairy tales through this series, however.
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