The Adventures of Pinocchio (1972)

Gina Lollobrigida,Lionel Stander,Vittorio De Sica
Plot of 320 min. version in 6 episodes (theatrical 134 min. version simply abridges most scenes) First episode: Opens in about the middle of the 19th century, in a small mountain village in Tuscany, where at the end of winter the caravan theatre of a famous puppeteer, Mangiafoco, arrives before leaving for the "distant Americas" in the summer. While the puppeteer's two barkers, the Cat and the Fox make the announcement, a puppet of the show inspires Geppetto, a very poor widowed carpenter, to carve one of his own invention, in order to travel the world and get food, given the scarce work commissioned to him. Geppetto's neighbour, Ciliegia, a prosperous furniture maker, decides to make a table leg, but the log he intends to use speaks to him as he raises an axe, saying "do not hurt me". Alarmed, Ciliegia gives the log to Geppetto, who has come to ask him to lend him some wood for his puppet, but not before the log creates discord between the two, insulting and hitting Geppetto, who naturally blames Ciliegia. Back home, Geppetto works all evening to create the puppet, which he decides to call Pinocchio in honour of a friend, fitting it out with an old sack as clothing. When Geppetto realizes that the log can speak and move by itself, he blames it on his hunger and continues to work, believing he is only imagining himself interacting with the puppet, also speaking to the portrait of his deceased wife on the wall. During the night, the spirit of the woman appears, reincarnated as a Fairy, and, while the exhausted Geppetto sleeps, the Fairy proposes to the puppet a pact: that of making him temporarily become a real boy, if he behaves correctly, otherwise he will be returned to wood, until he proves his goodness, when he will become a child forever. The next day, Geppetto realizes he has a young boy in the house. At first blaming fatigue and hunger, the carpenter discovers that the child is not only real, but also Pinocchio. The latter, however, leaves the house and, chased by Geppetto, runs around the village, even being pursued from the river and through a wash-house by a fisherman whose lunch he had stolen. After Pinocchio is stopped by the carabinieri, Geppetto explains to everyone that he had carved a puppet for himself and that a child had appeared in its place the next morning. Believing him to be crazy (as well as not suitable for keeping a child, as the barefoot boy is naked apart from wearing only an old sack), the carabinieri arrest the carpenter and entrust the child to the washerwomen, who lose him as soon as it starts to rain. Pinocchio returns home still hungry, but after searching in vain for something to eat indoors, finds an egg outside; however as he breaks it, he discovers that the egg has a chick inside. It is now night and going out again he knocks at a neighbouring house asking for food, only to have the householder pour a bowl of water over him from an upstairs window. Second episode: Pinocchio returns home dripping wet and dries himself in front of the fire (using Geppetto's tools and a chair as fuel). He finds that he is not alone in the house: to keep him company there is also a centenarian talking cricket, which lectures him on his behaviour and says that the Fairy will not be quite happy with him. In response Pinocchio throws an ash-spreader fire-iron at it, apparently killing it and breaking the picture of Geppetto's wife at the same time. At that point Pinocchio returns to wood and his feet, too close to the fire, begin to burn. The next morning, released from prison, Geppetto returns home, saddened by the fact that that Pinocchio has escaped from the washerwomen and perhaps has not returned home. Fortunately, Ciliegia tells him that he has heard a voice in his workshop, so that Pinocchio appears to be at home. As the door is barred and Pinocchio says he cannot walk, Geppetto climbs in through the window. Finding Pinocchio is made of wood he becomes even more confused and frightening Ciliegia, who was peering through the window. Pinocchio, wanting his feet restored, promises Geppetto that he will behave well from now on. Geppetto offers him another chance and Pinocchio instantly returns to normal (further alarming Ciliegia). After the boy eats three pears (dropped on the window sill by Ciliegia), Geppetto makes him a costume and a hat out of paper, then he sells his jacket to buy a "first reader" book for his son. Pinocchio kisses Geppetto goodbye and happily runs off to school, but on the way he is distracted by music coming from the theatre show of Mangiafoco and decides to go and see it. Having no money to enter, he decides to sell his book and pencil for the ticket money. Pinocchio enjoys the show, which the Cat and the Fox narrate, until hungry and tired, they entrust playing of the mechanical organ to a boy and go off to eat. Just then, the puppets notice Pinocchio and invite him to the stage. Pinocchio climbs up but is transformed again into a puppet just as Mangiafoco bursts onto the stage, capturing Pinocchio and locking him in the monkey's cage, ordering the others to resume the show. He is puzzled that this puppet has no strings. Geppetto, accompanied by Ciliegia, goes to school to pick up Pinocchio, but not seeing him leave with the other boys, he asks the janitor if he has seen him, who says he had never entered. While Ciliegia consoles Geppetto, the latter realizes that another child has Pinocchio's book and discovers that it was bought by the child's father from Pinocchio to see the show. Geppetto runs to the Mangiafoco theatre, but it has departed with Pinocchio in the hands of Mangiafoco. Cold and broken hearted, Geppetto goes to the local tavern, where Ciliegia offers him a glass of wine by the fire to forget everything. Geppetto decides to follow the troupe to America and rescue Pinocchio. Meanwhile Mangiafoco's troupe halts to eat. Cat and Fox light a fire, but with the snow and rain of the previous days, the fire struggles to burn. Mangiafoco then decides to burn Pinocchio and orders the two to get him, but in the caravan they find only a child (transformed in time by the fairy, to save him from the flames). Mangiafoco, believing that the Cat and the Fox are playing a joke in bad taste, yells at them, while Fox replies that they quit (against Cat's will). Mangiafoco then fires a shotgun at them as they run away in terror. Pinocchio, finally getting his attention, tries explaining to him that he was the puppet but that he changes between puppet and boy because of the Fairy. Mangiafoco of course does not understand, but decides to resume cooking his dinner and orders the coachman to throw the broken Harlequin marionette onto the fire. Pinocchio asks for mercy for his fellow puppet and offers to throw himself into the fire, even if that means never seeing his father again. This moves Mangiafoco, who decides not to burn Harlequin. Third episode: Pinocchio, still a boy, decides to tell Mangiafoco about his poverty-stricken father and the latter, pitying and moved, gives him new clothes and also five gold coins to take home to Geppetto, telling him not to lose them and not to show them to anyone. Pinocchio, on the way back home, meets the Cat and the Fox again, who, now unemployed, pretend to be blind and lame beggars. Discovering that Pinocchio (unable to heed good advice) has some coins, at first they induce him to buy them dinner and then convince him of the existence of a tree in the "field of miracles", where his gold coins, if buried and watered, would multiply like leaves on a tree. A hen, tries to warn him, but is silenced by the Cat wringing its neck. After having dinner at a tavern, Pinocchio is awakened by the host late at night and after hiding his money, sets off in search of the Cat and the Fox, who had already left, disguising themselves with two (stolen) sheets and they chase him throughout the woods. Pinocchio flees these "assassins", but the next day they find him again and give chase. Seeing a house on a lake, he runs to ask for help. The house turns out to be inhabited by the Fairy, but as a punishment she refuses to help him. The Cat and the Fox catch Pinocchio and cover him with a sheet. As Pinocchio doesn't want to tell them where the coins are hidden, they decide to hang him from a tree. Cat lets go of the rope and Pinocchio seems to die from the fall, but it turns out that the Fairy has saved him by transforming him into the wooden puppet again. He runs to her house to the amazement of the two marauders. After being seen by two doctors, Pinocchio turns out to be healthy, but they are torn between letting him remain a puppet or deciding whether he deserves to be a child again. The Fairy asks Pinocchio some questions, but as he tells many lies in answer his nose is lengthened until birds begin to settle on it. Finally, the Fairy transforms the puppet into a boy again and promises to reunite him with Geppetto. Pinocchio goes out to retrieve the money he had hidden, but he meets the Cat and the Fox again (to their amusement not realising they were the "assassins"), who manage to convince him to bury the money in the "field of miracles" to multiply it. While Pinocchio runs to get water, the two dig up the coins and run away laughing. Fourth episode: Finding that he has been tricked, Pinocchio, at the suggestion of a passing farmer, reports the theft to a local judge, who puts him in prison, incredulous of his story. Meanwhile, Geppetto finds Pinocchio's costume at the seaport from which he decides to row a boat in pursuit, convinced that Mangiafoco has kidnapped his child to take him with him to the distant Americas. Four months later Pinocchio is released from prison and decides to return to the Fairy's house. On the way, he runs into a monster in the form of a smoke-breathing dragon and runs away. After falling into the mud, he discovers that the "monster" was nothing more than a carnival joke of some children, who laugh out loud. Kicking the "monster" down, Pinocchio returns to the place where the Fairy's house should be found, but finds nothing but a tomb, on which it is written that she died of sorrow at being abandoned by Pinocchio. (As he cannot read Pinocchio has to ask a passerby what the inscription says.) After lying on the grave crying for a whole day, Pinocchio places a flower on it and walks until he finds a vineyard. Hungry, he picks a bunch of grapes, but is caught by the farmer, who metes out a cruel punishment, tying him to a chain to take the place of his dead dog Melampo. Pinocchio is freed only after barking one night when thieves attempt to steal the hens. He decides to go in search of his father and learning his name the farmer says he saw Geppetto at the seaport. Pinocchio happily runs to the sea just as Geppetto, having embarked on a rickety dinghy, is about to be overwhelmed by the waves. The two call out to each other from afar a moment before Geppetto and his boat sink. Pinocchio, not wanting to lose him again, throws himself into the sea to save him, but eventually is cast up on a far away beach. Pinocchio, learns from a traveller that his father, if he did not drown, may have been devoured by a sea monster. Crying, he is now convinced that he is left alone in the world. On the beach Pinocchio meets Lucignolo, a truant schoolboy who has run away from home, sought by his mother and the carabinieri who appear in the distance.. Pinocchio tells them he has not seen Lucignolo (who is hiding under an upturned boat smoking a cigar), whom he now follows into a town and becomes an accomplice in a theft of eight donuts. The episode ends as he chases after Lucignolo around the corner of a street. Fifth episode: Lucignolo has run off to an abandoned storehouse to eat his loot and calls to Pinocchio who is running along the road searching for him. They eat and then sleep. Pinocchio wakes up to discover that he has been left alone by Lucignolo, so he returns to the village, begging for alms from various workers, who answer the same thing: "those who don't work don't eat" and that if he wants to earn a piece of bread, he will at least have to do something for them. Pinocchio is directed to a queue of poor people who are receiving handouts of food and agrees to help a blue-haired woman fill her jug with water and carry her bag home in exchange for a lavish lunch. On the way, Pinocchio realizes that the woman is actually the Fairy and that she has a new dwelling, also on a lake. Pinocchio tells the Fairy what happened to him and she tells him that Geppetto is still alive and that she will bring him back as soon as the boy learns to behave correctly. Thus, Pinocchio decides to resume his studies seriously, becoming the model pupil of the class within a few months of hard work and study. The Fairy is now inclined to bring back Geppetto and tells Pinocchio that she will organize a party, to which all his companions and even the teacher are invited, but the day this party is to take place, Lucignolo is returned to school by the carabinieri. Pinocchio, whom the teacher sits next to him, invites him to his party, but the bad boy declines the invitation and gets thrown out of the classroom for mimicking a sheep bleating. Pinocchio, who also gets sent out of class for the same reason, follows Lucignolo, and they both climb over the wall running away to the storehouse where they ate the donuts. Lucignolo explains that he is fed up with adults, who do nothing but force him to do stupid things like studying, so he will flee to a place where children can do whatever they want from morning to evening every day: the Land of Toys. Pinocchio is fascinated by the wonderful promise of this Land of Toys, but as he had worked hard for the school results he has just achieved, decides only to help his friend light a fire to stop the midnight cart that takes children to this fabulous country. When Pinocchio returns to the lake-house late in the day, the party is over, the Fairy is sleeping and Lumaca ("Snail"), the waitress, will not let him in for several hours, until after Pinocchio has been soaked by rain. As if this is not bad enough, Pinocchio finds all the food has been eaten and is punished for running away from school, by being left only a fake dinner of plaster to eat. Upset, the boy runs away to join Lucignolo to go with him to the Land of Toys. He reaches the wagon, filled with sleeping children, just in time to go with his friend, both riding on the sad donkeys pulling the wagon. After they arrive and all the children spend a whole day of playing and eating sweets (even if Lucignolo seems bored by the atmosphere, perhaps wanting cigars rather than sweets), all the children fall asleep, unaware of what awaits them the next day, convinced that they will see several promises fulfilled. Sixth episode: Pinocchio wakes up the next day with donkey ears. Hiding them, Pinocchio finds Lucignolo in the same situation. Realizing the true nature of the Toyland, they try to escape before they turn into donkeys, but they are caught by the wagon-driver owner of the Land of Toys and all the children have now metamorphosed into donkeys. The playground has become a donkey sales market. A buyer is interested in Pinocchio and Lucignolo, but given Lucignolo's stubbornness, only Pinocchio is sold. Much to his regret, he becomes the new attraction of a circus. The equestrian trainer makes him jump and dance during his show but one evening, Pinocchio recognizes the Fairy in the audience, saddened to see him in that state. Surprised by the encounter, Pinocchio falls from the steps of the stand and is severely crippled. Not being able to dance anymore, the circus resells him. A drummer buys him, but first, the Fairy has a last meeting with him: disappointed she renounces her idea of transforming him into the son that Geppetto had always wanted, but decides to make one last miracle to ensure that he reunites with his father. The drummer intends to throw him into the sea weighed down by rocks to drown him, then skin him and make a new drum with his skin. Thanks to the Fairy, Pinocchio, in the water, returns to being a wooden puppet as before, detaches himself from the rope and then swims out to sea, under the astonished gaze of the drummer. However, Pinocchio is swallowed by a sea monster resembling a whale. Inside, he first encounters a depressed Tuna waiting for his time to be digested, then he finds Geppetto, who has survived with the provisions of ships devoured by the monster. Father and puppet-son finally find each other and Geppetto tenderly dries Pinocchio before putting him to bed. Not only that: Geppetto, now knowning the whole story, complains to himself about the Fairy causing so much concern and so much trouble, considering himself suitable to educate the boy with kinder methods, finally defining her as more of a witch than a fairy. In response, the Fairy appears to accept her mistake as Pinocchio definitively becomes a child and his soul comes out of the puppet. A boy again, he dances around the monster's belly dressed only in a white shirt and is hugged joyfully by the surprised Geppetto. Against Geppetto's decision to continue living inside the monster (which he considers a comfortable situation), Pinocchio instead tries to convince the carpenter to escape from that damp prison. Geppetto says he cannot swim and Pinocchio is no longer made of wood (and consequently will not float). Pinocchio, in fact, every night climbs into the mouth of the monster which, having a cold, sleeps with his mouth open, allowing Pinocchio to enjoy the view of the stars. Geppetto, one night, discovers him there and joins him. Pinocchio then tells him that the Tuna has recently managed to escape and is happy to help them in their eventual escape. Geppetto is still reluctant to return to land, but as Pinocchio refuses to leave without him, eventually, Geppetto is convinced and the two get on the back of the Tuna. The next day, the three reach a beach and the Tuna leaves them on the shore. Seeing a house in the distance along the beach, Pinocchio invites Geppetto to run towards it, reassuring him that from now they will be together.
  • 08 Apr 1972 Released:
  • 15 Dec 2000 DVD Release:
  • N/A Box office:
  • N/A Writer:
  • Luigi Comencini Director:
  • N/A Website:

All subtitles: