Tom Thumb (1958): George Pal’s Fantasy Musical, Based on Grimm Brothers Fairy Tale, Starring Russ Tumblin and Peter Sellers

Produced and directed by George Pal, Tom Thumb is a fantasy-musical based on the Brothers Grimm’s fairy tale, Thumbling.

Though not one of Hollywood’s great fantasy-musicals, the film has a certain charm and benefits from a premise that appeals to both parents and children.  The tale concerns a tiny man (played by Russ Tamblyn), who manages to outwit two thieves determined to make a fortune from him.

The supporting, largely British cast includes Bernard Miles and Jessie Matthews as Tom Thumb’s loving adopting parents.

Comic actors Terry-Thomas and Peter Sellers (before he became a star) play the villainous couple, who try to exploit the tiny hero for profit.

Director Pal collaborated with some great artists–cinematographer Georges Perinal, animators Wah Chang and Gene Warren, art director Elliot Scott, and special effects expert Tom Howard–to create the animated and fantasy sequences.

Singer Peggy Lee wrote the songs, and Douglas Gamley and Ken Jones compose the music.

Made on a budget of less than $1 million, Tom Thumb was a commercial successful family fare–it was released in time for Christmas of 1958–grossing over $3 million at the box-office.

The 1962 movie, The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grim, makes a reference to this picture.