Monday, November 9, 2009


The original Pinocchio, illustrated by Enrico Mazzanti (1852-1910) for Carlo Collodi's "Le avventure di Pinocchio. Storia di un burattino."

Carlo Lorenzini (1826--1890), better known by his pen name Carlo Collodi

Who is the real Pinocchio? Carlo Collodi, an Italian writer and journalist, wrote the story in 1883 at a time of great political turmoil in Italy. His story of a puppet who dreams of being a boy has become one of the most beloved stories of all time. Could that little puppet bare some resemblance to a recently unified Italy?

Most of us are familiar with Pinocchio from the 1940's animated film by Walt Disney. It's an animation classic, possibly Disney's best film, but maybe something was lost in the translation. A new English translation by Geoffrey Brock suggests we may have missed a lot when the story crossed the pond to Disneyland.

"The Making of Pinocchio" by Walt Disney Studios. Most people think Disney thought up Pinocchio, and Walt did little to dissuade them. Blink and you'll miss the source of the story.

In The New York Review of Books, Novelist Tim Parks spoke with Andrew Palmer about Brock's new English translation of Collodi's children's classic, and he says there's more to Pinocchio than Disney put across. Click the button to hear the interview:

Francis Ford Coppola tried producing a new version of the tale in the 1990s for Warner Bros. but the project ended in a lawsuit, and Coppola was finally awarded an offer he couldn't refuse, $80 million by a jury (the figure was cut to $20 million when a trial judge tossed out punitive damages).

Guillermo del Toro, director of "Pan's Labyrinth" and "Hellboy," is developing a darker, stop-motion version of "Pinocchio" with the Jim Hensen Co. and artist Gris Grimly, who illustrated "Pinocchio" in 2002. Del Toro announced the project in an interview with, and said the film would take three years to complete. His top priority now is directing of "The Hobbit," the latest Tolkien project from Peter Jackson. He also has a deal with Universal, and is looking at remakes of "Frankenstein," "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde," and "Slaughterhouse-Five."

Del Toro told Wired that he spends the first two hours each morning working on "The Hobbit," and the rest of the day troubleshooting his other projects. So the new "Pinocchio" may take a while. Still, with Guillermo and his gang on the case, maybe Pinocchio will finally get his due.

"Pinocchio" illustrated by Gris Grimly

By the way, the word "pinocchio" is a Tuscan word for "pine nut."

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