For her birthday, the beautiful Princess Elaine (Judi Meredith) receives a large music box from a myterious visiting dignitary--who is actually the evil wizard Pendragon (Torin Thatcher). When she opens the music box, a 12-inch jester emerges and dances until the music stops. The princess is delighted. That night, though, the little jester (who looks downright creepy) grows into a two-horned Cormoran (a Cornish giant) and abducts Princess Elaine.
|Jack (Kerwin Matthews) gets knighted.|
However, still concerned about his daughter's safety, the king asks Jack to escort Elaine to a convent in another kingdom. Love blossoms between Jack and Elaine during their shipboard voyage. However, their happiness is short-lived when Pendragon sends a bunch of ugly, fire-producing witches to kidnap Princess Elaine. It's up to Jack to rescue his love again.
|Good princess; bad princess.|
Jack the Giant Killer was produced by Edward Small, who had turned down The 7th Voyage of Sinbad three years earlier. That fact, plus the obvious similarities between the films, led to Columbia Pictures (which distributed Sinbad) to file a copyright infringement suit to prevent the release of Jack the Giant Killer. It was released anyway (some sources claim the suit was filed too late). However, legal concerns popped up again when the film was being considered for a video release in 1976. To avoid a lawsuit, Small retitled the film Jack the Giant Killer: The Musical and redubbed it with songs. Here's a clip featuring the song "We Have Failed," in which Pendragon's henchman explains how the original kidnapping was botched.
Fortunately, the original version of Jack the Giant Killer eventually found its way to release on VHS, Laserdisc, and DVD. Still, it's interesting to ponder other classic films that could be converted into musicals. Casablanca--The Musical, anyone?