TV Cream

Films: N is for...

New Adventures Of Pippi Longstocking, The

Well, this gives us the measure of Columbia Pictures boss David Puttnam’s commitment to ‘family’ cinema. A Swedish co-prroduction based on the strangely famous books about a girl with crap tights, those turned-up-pigtails-with-wire-down-the-middle, and an ‘irrepressible spirit’ to bring out the inner Politburo in the most warm-hearted viewer. There’s clearly a bit of Euro-snobbery going on here – cod-folk-taley cobblers is being pushed as ‘legitimate’ entertainment for tots, not like that culturally barren American guff, oh no. Problem is, Putto fails to put his money where his mouth is. There’s $4.5 million up there on screen, but that’s quite clearly not enough. As seems to be the law for anything labelled ‘The New Adventures’, it looks cheap. Very cheap. Sub-Poppins speeded-up effects and wirework meld with flat lighting and an awful Casiotone-backed soundtrack to create that vaguely disturbing appearance only lumpily-directed, micro-budget children’s fantasy can muster. (If it has any redeeming feature, you could say it shows how hard it is to get this sort of thing right, by getting it so blatantly wrong. Whether you’d be in a mood to be so generous after sitting through the thing, though, is unlikely.) Director Ken Annakin, who’d done some marvellous work in his time, never made another film for seventeen years after this.

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  1. George White

    February 25, 2016 at 10:51 am

    I remember this from childhood, simply because I really wanted to see it because the video artwork had a cool sub-Roald Dahl feel. I remember being disappointed by it, when my friend Mark lent me his VHS. It feels cheap and older than 1988, bar the terrible 80s soundtrack.

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