Pufnstuf Film Details
Overview: Young Jimmy is being pursued by the evil Wilhemina W. Witchiepoo. More specifically, Witchiepoo is after Jimmy’s small friend, a small solid gold diamond encrusted talking flute named Freddy. Witchiepoo knows that if she has Freddy i
Tagline: A musical adventure of Double-Stuffed proportions!
Review: Pufnstuf is the story of the rivalry between an insecure witch and a lonely Dickensian teen pin up model over a talking flute in a land of goofy puppet people. If that sounds crazy it’s because it kind of is. Jimmy is an English transplant in America having difficulty adjusting. One day, after getting kicked out of band practice, his flute magically comes to life and promises to be his new best friend. They sing a song about it and, surprisingly, the song is pretty good. Jimmy then comes across an odd boat which he decides to jump into. Unfortunately, the boat is cursed or something and he is beset upon by a witch on a gigantic broom who wants the flute in order to impress her witch friends because she’s kind of unpopular. Jimmy escapes only to find himself on a magic island where all sorts of strange puppet things live in a world of brightly colored hand-drawn sets. This includes a silly looking dragon lizard character who also happens to be the mayor and sounds like Gomer Pyle. In fact, most of the puppet characters act like bland impressions of vaudeville comedians. Witchiepoo and Jimmy are the only two humans despite the fact that they are themselves modeled on famous fictional characters. It turns into a literal popularity contest when the witches convention comes to town. Jimmy tries to rescue his friend using his usual strategy from the television series, dressing up in silly costumes and trying to trick witchiepoo, which seems to work less than half the time. The goofy, children’s show plot hides a fundamental message about friendship and the two human characters are misfits who really only want to be accepted. Jack Wilde is charming as Jimmy. He has an off-beat charm and seems disarmingly earnest but he’s rarely given much to do. The character of Witchiepoo, played by Billie Hayes, is such a lively and fully realized character that she stand apart from her surroundings. In a world that’s bland and boring she parades around screeching and cackling. It’s such a bravura performance from Hayes that she fills the screen with her presence. She combines a larger-than-life musical theater style character with expressive mime and slapstick. There’s really no moment she’s on screen she’s not full of energy. The counterpoint is the citizens of Living Island are silly animals with voices of old comedians doing terrible, corny jokes all day is so striking. You really feel her frustration being trapped in a land of dum dums without anybody to really connect with. In contrast, Jimmy is good-natured and has a positive attitude. He’s willing to look past how boring the relentless cheerfulness of Pufnstuf and his neighbors are so he can enjoy himself in a world where everyone likes him. It’s like there’s a sort of sibling rivalry between the two as they fight over friends. Jimmy is sincere and easygoing while Witchiepoo is manipulative and bossy. Really Witchiepoo is trying to make friends but she feels different from other people and she rejects them before they can reject her. She does steal and hit people and call them names so that doesn’t help either. The sets are fantastic and give the film a distinct psychedelic tone. The songs are hummable and the score is surprisingly memorable. During the witch convention there are some really great visuals, costumes and bits of humor that show them really making the best of a lower budget. It’s amazing this was made within the same year as the show aired. I was never really familiar with the series before seeing this movie and was genuinely surprised by how good it was. You certainly don’t need to have watched the show though and I’d recommend the movie first anyway.This movie is the show’s victory lap and and captures the spirit of the show nicely.
Country: United States
Duration: 98 min
Genre: Adventure, Comedy, Family
Also known as: Pufnstuf,A Flauta Encantada,La isla de las maravillas,La flauta mágica,パフンスタッフ