Steve Goble

Choose life. (Deuteronomy 30:19)


For some reason, one of the students in my Advanced English class wanted to see an English-language film of Jack And The Beanstalk, and this was the only one I could find.

So this morning we merged my Advanced class with Anna's Beginners’ class in order to hijack their video for 45 minutes. Just what would they all make of it? Well, every pantomime takes liberties.

Cricklewood 1973
Graeme, Tim and Bill - alias The Goodies of the title - have fallen on hard times and become tramps. They are forced to sell their beloved trandem, in exchange for a measly tin of baked beans. Well, you know what happens next.

As I mentioned in another post, The Goodies has aged extremely well. While a few of the “live-action cartoon” effects are in-keepingly cheap, (and would probably not work as well if they looked seriously real anyway) the sheer artillery of quality gags never fails to overcome and make the whole thing look quite glossy. They just wouldn’t let you make something so purely fun today. Even Scrubs has its serious moments.

And this is a tour de force of The Goodies at their finest. The Jeux Sans Frontières sequence, the fairy-tale world at the top of the beanstalk, and of course the classic final escape-sequence.

The fact that this is the one episode that they actually did make specifically for children (unpatronisingly featuring a nudist-camp without getting coarse) makes the whole thing quite enchanting, particularly their rare use of such magical incidental music, combined with shooting the whole thing on film.

The highlight would have to be the epic sequence in which the colossal beanstalk grows to gigantic proportions, propelling our heroes right across the country (and extremely close to my house in Twickenham) on its stem, wreaking mayhem in ever-more-bizarre ways.

As for the watching Chinese students, it got quite a few light laughs, being as it is so visual, with a great many signs to be read in English. They seemed quite happy.

But probably not as happy as I was.

After all, I’d just been paid for watching The Goodies. That hasn’t happened for a few employers.

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