Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The once very obscure film 'The Great Brain,' starring Jimmy Osmond!

The Great Brain, 1978, starring Jimmy Osmond.

This isn't a great movie, by any stretch. The acting is hammy, and a very young Jimmy Osmond is frankly, too inexperienced, in my opinion, to play The Great Brain. But if you like the John D. Fitzgerald novels, you'll find the film a treat.

I'm glad it's out and that I taped it in the early 1980s. It's a definite G and post-toddler kids will like it. However, those adults unfamiliar with the Great Brain character may get bored at the juvenile story.

On the plus side, the sets of early, rural Utah are pretty well done and the cast, if inexperienced, is at least earnest. Also, this is a rare film that is almost completely faithful to a book. Fans of The Great Brain will enjoy seeing what they read faithfully adapted to the screen. Examples include The Great Brain, Tom D. Fitzgerald, having adventures with a Greek immigrant family, his fights with friends, his scheming with brothers, including narrator John D. Fitzgerald, and his change of heart when he helps a young crippled boy.

This is was once an almost impossible film to locate. It never runs on TV it seems and has never been released to video or DVD. Rumor has it the film is locked in litigation. That's a shame if true, because it seems ideal for a new production or a re-release via DVD to at least the Utah/Mormon market. Still, in recent years it has popped up on You Tube, and you can watch it above. My guess is that the copyright finally expired?

Fitzgerald's tales are still much loved and I hope someday an enterprising filmmaker produces a new version(s) of The Great Brain movies. The 1978 film was directed by Sidney Levin. It also starred Pat Delaney, Fran Ryan and Cliff Osmond.
-- Doug Gibson

1 comment:

Carrie said...

I am the person who popped the film out on youtube. If you enjoy The Great Brain check out our facebook group - The Great Brain Series or visit my webpage - The film is sweet, I think that's an appropriate word for it. Thanks for giving it a good shout out.