Charlotte's Web (1973 film)

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Charlotte's Web
Directit bi
Produced bi
Story bi Earl Hamner Jr.
Based on Charlotte's Web 
bi E. B. White
Narratit bi Rex Allen
Muisic bi Irwin Kostal
  • Dick Blundell
  • Ralph Migliori
  • Roy Wade
  • Dennis Weaver
Eeditit bi
  • Larry C. Cowan
  • Pat Foley
Distributit bi Paramount Pictures
Release date
  • 22 Februar 1973 (1973-02-22) (Premiere-New York Ceety)
  • 1 Mairch 1973 (1973-03-01) (Unitit States)
Runnin time
94 meenits
Kintra Unitit States
Leid Inglis
Box office $2.4 million (rentals)[1]

Charlotte's Web is a 1973 American animatit muisical drama film produced bi Hanna-Barbera Productions an Sagittarius Productions an based upon the 1952 bairns' beuk o the same name bi E. B. White. The film, lik the book, is aboot a pig named Wilbur who befriends an intelligent speeder named Charlotte who saves him frae bein slaughtered. Released tae theaters bi Paramount Pictures, Charlotte's Web featurs a sang score o muisic an lyrics written bi the Sherman Brothers, who haed previously written muisic for faimily films lik Mary Poppins (1964), The Jungle Book (1967), an Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968). It is the first o anly three Hanna-Barbera featurs nae tae be based upon ane o thair famous televeesion cartoons, Heidi's Song (1982) an Once Upon a Forest (1993) bein the ither twa.

Charlotte's Web wis released on Februar 22, 1973, tae moderate critical an commercial success. The film haes developed a devoted follaein ower the follaein years due tae televeesion an VHS; in 1994 it surprised the marketplace bi acomin ane o the best-selling titles o the year, 21 years efter its first premiere. No ither non-Disney muisical animatit film haes enjoyed sic a comeback in popularity, prompting a direct-to-video sequel, Charlotte's Web 2: Wilbur's Great Adventure, which Paramount released in the US on Mairch 18, 2003 (Universal released it internationally), followed bi a live-action film version o the oreeginal story, which wis released on December 15, 2006.

Plot[eedit | eedit soorce]

When farmer John Arable decides tae "do away wi" the runt o a litter o piglets, his daughter, Fern, intervenes, telling him that it is absurd tae kill the piglet juist acause he is smawer than the ithers. John decides tae spare the piglet an let Fern raise him as a pet. She nurtures him lovingly, naming him Wilbur. Sax weeks later, Wilbur, due tae bein a spring pig, has matured, an John tells Fern that Wilbur has tae be sold (his siblings were already sold). Fern sadly says good-bye tae Wilbur as he is sold doun the street tae her uncle, Homer Zuckerman. At Homer's farm, a goose coaxes a sullen Wilbur tae speak his first words. Although delighted at this new ability, Wilbur still yearns for companionship. He attempts tae get the goose tae play wi him, but she declines on the condition that she has tae hatch her goslings. Wilbur an aw tries asking a rat named Templeton tae play wi him, but Templeton's only interests are spying, hiding, an eating. Wilbur then wants tae play with a lamb, but the lamb's father that sheep dae nae play wi pigs acause it is anly a matter o time afore thay are slaughtered an turned intae smoked bacon an ham. Horrified at this depressing discovery, Wilbur reduces himself tae tears until a mysterious vyce tells him tae "chin up", an wait until morning tae reveal herself tae him. The following morning, she reveals herself tae be a speeder named Charlotte A. Cavatica, living on a web overlooking Wilbur's pig pen. She tells him that she will come up wi a plan guaranteed tae spare his life.

Later, the goose's goslings hatch. Ane o them, named Jeffrey, befriends Wilbur. Eventually, Charlotte reveals her plan tae "play a trick on Zuckerman", an consoles Wilbur tae sleep. The next morning, Homer's farm assistant, Lurvy, sees the words, SOME PIG, spun within Charlotte's web. The incident attracts publicity among Homer's neighbors wha deem the praise tae be a miracle. The publicity eventually dies doun, an Charlotte requests the barn animals tae devise a new word tae spin within her web. Efter several suggestions, the goose suggests the phrase, TERRIFIC! TERRIFIC! TERRIFIC!, though Charlotte decides tae shorten it tae ane TERRIFIC. The incident acomes another media sensation, though Homer still desires tae slaughter Wilbur. For the next message, Charlotte then employs Templeton tae pull a word from a magazine clipping at the dump for inspiration, in which he returns the word, RADIANT, ripped from a soap box tae spin within her web. Following this, Homer decides tae enter Wilbur in the county fair for the summer. Charlotte reluctantly decides tae accompany him, though Templeton at first has no interest in doing sae until the goose tells him about all the food there. Efter ane night there, Charlotte sends Templeton tae the trash pile on another errand tae gather another word for her next message, in which he returns wi the word, HUMBLE. The next morning, Wilbur awakens tae find Charlotte has spun an egg sac containing her unborn offspring, an the following afternoon, the word, HUMBLE, is spun. Houiver, Fern's brother, Avery, discovers another pig named Uncle has won first place, though the county fair staff decides tae hold a celebration in honor of Homer's miraculous pig, an rewards him $25 an a gold medal. He then announces that he will allow Wilbur tae "live to a ripe old age".

Exhausted from laying eggs an writin words, Charlotte tells Wilbur she will remain at the fair tae die. Not willing tae let her bairns be abandoned, Wilbur has Templeton retrieve Charlotte's egg sac tae take back to the farm, juist afore she dies. Once he returns tae Homer's farm, he guards the egg sac until the winter. The next spring, Charlotte's 514 bairns are hatched, but leave the farm, causing Wilbur tae acome saddened tae the point o wantin to run away. Juist as he is about tae do sae, the ram points out that three o them did nae fly away. Pleased at finding new friends, Wilbur names them Joy, Nellie, an Aranea, but as much as he loves them, thay will never replace the memory o Charlotte.

Voice cast[eedit | eedit soorce]

  • Henry Gibson as Wilbur, a pig wha wis almost killed due tae bein a runt. Over time, houiver, he grows sae much that ane would never have kent that he wis once a runt. When Wilbur learns o his fate o bein slaughtered, he instantly breaks doun intae tears, until Charlotte tells him that she will do whatever it takes tae save him. Wilbur is a friendly pig, but an aw prone tae anxeeity.
  • Debbie Reynolds as Charlotte A. Cavatica, a speeder who lives in a corner o Homer's barn above Wilbur's pig pen. She is very loving an motherly, but sometimes grows frustrated at Wilbur's anxeeity issues. At the end o the film, she dies efter laying 514 eggs, but three o them decide tae stay wi Wilbur.
  • Paul Lynde as Templeton, a care-free, egotistical rat wha lives at Homer's farm. He helps Charlotte get new ideas for her webs on the condition that he is promised food. At the end o the film, as well as the sequel, he haes fower bratty bairns o his own: Henrietta, Lester, Ralphie, an Junior.
  • Agnes Moorehead as the Goose, an unnamed goose who is the ane that encourages Wilbur tae speak for the first time. Her seven goslings later hatch, awtho there were actually eight eggs (ane wis rotten). In the sequel, she wis named Gwen.
  • Don Messick as Jeffrey, a young, undersized gosling whom Wilbur befriends shortly efter his birth. He initially lives, eats, an sleeps wi Wilbur rather than his mother an siblings. At ane point, Avery remarks that he sounds more lik a pig than a gosling, which pleases Jeffrey. When Wilbur is loaded intae a crate destined for the fair, Jeffrey casually walks in to join him, amusing the humans but they still remove an restrain him nevertheless. The Swedish version shows a deleted scene in which Jeffrey is briefly seen riding in the back of the Arables' truck wi Avery until it stops so Avery can put him down in the middle of the road. Distressed at being separated from Wilbur, Jeffrey tries tae catch up wi the truck tae no avail, leaving him heartbroken. His mother gently directs him tae the pond tae join his siblings. Jeffrey daes nae reunite wi Wilbur when the latter returns from the fair nor does he appear in the rest o the film.
  • Herb Vigran as Lurvy, Homer's assistant who is the first tae notice the messages in Charlotte's webs.
  • Pamelyn Ferdin as Fern Arable, the daughter o John who convinces him tae spare Wilbur's life.
  • Martha Scott as Mrs. Arable, Fern's mother who first tells her o what was going tae happen tae Wilbur.
  • Bob Holt as Homer Zuckerman, Mrs. Arable's brother an Fern's uncle.
  • John Stephenson as John Arable, Fern's father. He wis aboot tae "do away" wi Wilbur until she intervened.
  • Danny Bonaduce as Avery Arable, Fern's older brother.
  • William B. White as Henry Fussy, a boy o about Fern's age, whom she soon starts spending time wi while Wilbur is at the fair.
  • Dave Madden as the Ram, ane of the first animals Wilbur meets at Homer's farm. He is the first tae tell Wilbur that it is a pig's fate tae be slaughtered an turned intae smoked bacon an ham. Madden also voiced ither chairacters in the film.
  • Joan Gerber as Edith Zuckerman, Homer's wife. She comes up wi the idea o givin Wilbur a buttermilk bath. Gerber also voiced Mrs. Fussy, Henry's stern mother who never lets him have fun.
  • Rex Allen as the Narrator

Five members of the cast (Henry Gibson, Paul Lynde, Agnes Moorehead, Danny Bonaduce, and Dave Madden) had previously appeared on the ABC television situation comedy Bewitched (1964-1972).[2]Template:Unreliable source? Hanna-Barbera also animated the opening credits of the show. However, Bonaduce and Madden are better known for their roles on another ABC-TV sitcom, The Partridge Family (1970–1974), which was still in production when the film was made. Also, Ferdin and Lynde both appeared on The Paul Lynde Show, another ABC sitcom created to fill the contract of Bewitched[3] Bonaduce, Lynde, Gerber, Messick, and Stephenson had previously worked for Hanna-Barbera in their television shows: Lynde appeared in The Perils of Penelope Pitstop (uncredited), Bonaduce and Gerber were stars in Partridge Family 2200 A.D., and Stephenson and Messick were Hanna-Barbera regulars who regularly lent their voices to many of their shows.

Production[eedit | eedit soorce]

After the studio decided tae make the film, Joe Barbera visited E. B. White in Maine. White highlighted parts of the book he did not want tae change, and parts "subject to discussion."[4]

Barbera wrote that Debbie Reynolds called him and said that she was willing to join the project even without being paid.[4]

White discussed the making of the film with Gene Deitch, a director of animation and friend of his.[5]

Czech painter Mirko Hanák produced unused artwork of the film before dying of leukemia.[6]

Release[eedit | eedit soorce]

Template:Multiple issues The film was released tae theaters on March 1, 1973, by Paramount Pictures in the United States. It had a limited release 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, August 25 in Japan, and September 4, 1981, in Australia.

Home media[eedit | eedit soorce]

The film was first released on VHS in 1979, followed by three more releases in 1988, 1993, and 1996. It made its DVD debut in 2001. A second DVD release of the film was released in 2006.

Reception[eedit | eedit soorce]

Charlotte's Web received generally positive reviews. Review aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes reported that it has a 75% approval rating based on 20 reviews, with an average score of 6.6/10.[7] Craig Butler of All-Movie Guide criticized the animation and the musical score, but called it a faithful adaptation, noting that "no attempt has been made to soften the existential sadness at the story's core".[8] Dan Jardine criticized the songs and the "Saturday morning cartoon quality" of the animation, but also says that Hamner "retains just enough of White’s elegant prose in the dialogue and narration to keep the film from being simply a painfully well-intended experiment."[9] Christopher Null of stated that the animation is sometimes "downright bad", but that White's classic fable needs little to make it come to life.[10] When it was reissued on DVD it was awarded an Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Award.[11]

The film is recognized by American Film Institute in these lists:

E.B. White's reaction[eedit | eedit soorce]

According to Gene Deitch, White 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-Barbera version has never pleased either of us ... a travesty ..."[13] E. B. White also wrote of the film, "The story is interrupted every few minutes so that somebody can sing a jolly song. I don't 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."[14] He had previously turned down Disney when they offered to make a film based on his book.[15] According to its writer, Earl Hamner Jr., White — who sometimes offered advice and suggestions to the filmmakers — would have preferred Mozart in it, rather than the music of the Sherman Brothers.[16]

Sequel[eedit | eedit soorce]

A direct-to-video sequel titled Charlotte's Web 2: Wilbur's Great Adventure was released in 2003. The sequel centers on Wilbur's relationship with a lonely lamb named Cardigan and also shows Charlotte's children as adolescents. Reviews for the sequel were generally unfavorable, with critics panning its animation and plot.

Soundtrack[eedit | eedit soorce]

  1. "There Must Be Something More"
  2. "I Can Talk!"
  3. "Chin Up!"
  4. "We've Got Lots in Common"
  5. "Deep in the Dark/Charlotte's Web"
  6. "Mother Earth and Father Time"
  7. "A Veritable Smorgasbord"
  8. "Zuckerman's Famous Pig"

"Zuckerman's Famous Pig"[eedit | eedit soorce]

"Zuckerman's Famous Pig" is the title that saves Wilbur, the pig hero, from being slaughtered in the story. It is the theme of the finale song in the film. It was composed and arranged in a barbershop quartet style by the Sherman Brothers, in keeping with the time and place of the story.[17] 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.[18]

See also[eedit | eedit soorce]

References[eedit | eedit soorce]

  1. "Big Rental Films of 1973", Variety, Januar 9, 1974, pg 19.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Barbera, Joseph (1994). My Life in 'toons: From Flatbrush to Bedrock in Under a Century. Atlanta, GA: Turner Publishing. pp. 228–29. ISBN 1-57036-042-1. 
  5. Gene Deitch (2001). "How to Succeed in Animation: Chapter 29: The Charlotte Papers". Animation World Network. Retrieved August 5, 2015. 
  6. Gene Deitch (2001). "How to Succeed in Animation: Chapter 30: Charlotte's Web Graphics". Animation World Network. Retrieved August 5, 2015. 
  7. "Charlotte's Web (1973) - Rotten Tomatoes". Flixster. Retrieved Februar 4, 2012. 
  8. Butler, Craig. "Charlotte's Web: Review". All-Movie Guide. Macrovision Corporation. Retrieved Januar 28, 2009. 
  9. Jardine, Dan. "Charlotte's Web". Apollo Guide. Apollo Communications Ltd. Retrieved Januar 28, 2009. 
  10. Null, Christopher (2001). "Charlotte's Web (1973)". Retrieved Januar 28, 2009. 
  11. "Early School Years: Feature-Length Films". Oppenheim Toy Portfolio. Retrieved Aprile 22, 2009. 
  12. "AFI's 10 Top 10 Nominees" (PDF). Archived from the original on 2011-07-16. Retrieved 2016-08-19. 
  13. Gene Deitch (2001). "How to Succeed in Animation: Chapter 28: A Tangled Web". Animation World Network. Retrieved September 27, 2008. 
  14. Burr, Ty (December 10, 2006). "Bard of the barn". The Boston Globe. Retrieved September 27, 2008. 
  15. Clark, Beverly Lyon (2003). Kiddie Lit: The Cultural Construction of Children's Literature in America. The Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 178. ISBN 0-8018-8170-6. 
  16. Holleran, Scott (December 22, 2006). "Interview: Earl Hamner". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved December 16, 2008. 
  17. Richard Chigley Lynch (Juin 26, 1989). Movie Musicals on Record. ISBN 978-0-313-26540-2. 
  18. Kim Cooper; David Smay; Jake Austen (Juin 1, 2001). Bubblegum Music is the Naked Truth. ISBN 978-0-922915-69-9. 

Freemit airtins[eedit | eedit soorce]

Template:Charlotte's Web Template:Sherman Brothers Template:H-B films