Once Upon a Girl.... (1976)
Directed by Don Jurwich

Artistic Value: * ½
Entertainment Value: * *

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Synopsis & Analysis
Don Jurwich's Once Upon a Girl.... is certainly an oddity. Unfortunately, it is not nearly as entertaining as it could have been.

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The movie consists of three animated fairy tales, which are framed by the live action story of how Mother Goose (Hal Smith) is arrested and brought to trail for disturbing the peace somewhere in the American South. While on the witness stand, she relates the true versions of three of (what she says are) her tales, all of which are strongly sexual in nature. In the first of these, "Jack and the Beanstalk," Jack, who loves nothing more than sucking milk from the udders of his family's cow, is told by his mother to sell the poor beast. The young man is subsequently flashed by a dwarf, who, in exchange for the cow, lets him have sex with a gypsy girl, who, in turn, gives Jack some magic beans (because his penis is so large he will have to meet a giant to accommodate it). Of course, Jack soon climbs the enormous beanstalk that sprouts from the beans that had been tossed outside his house and visits the castle of a giant and his sexually aroused wife. In the second story, "Cinderella," the heroine's father is a lecher who is given a love philtre by an ugly hag. He marries her but, when the potion wears off, runs away to another country, leaving his beautiful daughter in her stepmother's home, where she toils for her hideous stepsisters. Eventually, with the help of a fairy, the abandoned girl gets to go to the prince's ball, and he falls in love with her. In the last story, "Little Red Riding Hood," the title character wanders through a forest on her way to a wedding, but finds her path repeatedly blocked by various hunters, each of whom demands to have sex with her.

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Regrettably, the quality of the animation used to present these re-imagined fairy tales is atrocious. The animation is stylistically similar to what one might see in a Saturday morning children's cartoon, but it is actually much stiffer, cruder, and more shoddily realized than is the animation of most such shows. In fact, with its endless repetition of cells, its barely moving characters, its awful draftsmanship, and so on, the animation is painful to look at.

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What is more, both the frame story and all three of the fairy tales are so poorly told that they do not redeem the film. The former is awkward and completely unfunny. The fairy tales can occasionally be amusing, but, more often, are just juvenile. I suppose twelve year old boys could be amused by the humor here, but I cannot imagine many others laughing at it. Admittedly, the viewer does get to see Jack (from Jack and the Beanstalk) hiding in a giantess's vagina, a frog licking a woman's genitals, Cinderella jumping out of a cake at a ball while wearing a bikini, Little Red Riding Hood having sex with a succession of hunters, meeting a gay troll, and initiating an orgy, but these sequences are, without exception, utterly puerile. I found myself frequently bored by the film's uninspired stories.

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Although it is peculiar, Once Upon a Girl.... is not especially enjoyable to watch.

Review by Keith Allen

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