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Faerie Tale Theatre: Little Mermaid [VHS] (1987)

Brian Dennehy , John Achorn , Robert Iscove  |  NR |  VHS Tape
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Brian Dennehy, John Achorn, Karen Black, Guy Boyd, Pam Dawber
  • Directors: Robert Iscove
  • Writers: Anne Beatts
  • Producers: Bridget Terry, Fred Fuchs, Shelley Duvall
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, HiFi Sound, Live, NTSC
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Number of tapes: 1
  • Studio: Cabin Fever
  • VHS Release Date: July 1, 1997
  • Run Time: 47 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6304107374
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #583,961 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a true FAERIE TALE THEATRE classic November 7, 2004
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
FAERIE TALE THEATRE's touching and tender recreation of THE LITTLE MERMAID (the second-last in the series) is one of their best efforts.

Pearl (Pam Dawber) is a beautiful young mermaid who lives with her father King Neptune (Brian Dennehy) and her sisters Coral and Anemonie (Donna McKechnie and Laraine Newman) in a kingdom at the bottom of the ocean. When Pearl comes of age and is allowed a brief glimpse of the world above the sea, she falls in love with a handsome Prince (Treat Williams) whom she saves from drowning when his ship has a fatal explosion.

She makes a bargain with the Sea Witch (Karen Black): her voice in exchange for a pair of legs and hopefully the love of the Prince. Once on land Pearl quickly returns to the Prince, though he only has eyes for the lovely Princess Emilia (Helen Mirren).

What follows is a heartbreaking story of selfless love and sacrifice, as Pearl risks everything for true love...

Pam Dawber leads a strong cast. Karen Black is amazing as the Sea Witch; Newman and McKechnie are a delight as Pearl's sisters and Treat Williams fills the role of the Prince admirably. A true gem in the series
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars One of the better episodes December 10, 2004
QUOTED FROM M REINKING -""One also must note the ending, which tries to change the sad ending of the original fairy tale where the Mermaid turns into seafoam, and that's the end of that. But here, they make her a "Spirit of the Air", so she can watch over her Prince. Blah. A bad ending to a bad film.""

M. Reinking obviously did not read the original story by Hans Anderson. Yes the mermaid did start to turn to sea foam, but that was not the end of that. in the book she was transformed into a "Daughter of the Air" and given a second chance at obtaining an eternal soul. So M Reinking doesn't even know what they are talking about.

As for the film, Yes, the special effects would be laughed at by kids today spoiled with amazing looking films like Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings. Where the film still stands strong though is in the story and performances by Pam Dawber, Treat Williams and the always admirable Helen Mirren. Shelly Duvall did a great service for kids in the 80's with her series of Faerie Tale Theaters. Sure today we have films and series of better quality but I would hope that everyone who grew up with these can still appriciate them the way they did when they were kids.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
"Faerie Tale Theatre" productions are sometimes scary ("HANSEL & GRETEL") and often hilarious ("LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD", "THE PRINCESS AND THE PEA"). Rarely are they as touching and as poignant as this version of
"THE LITTLE MERMAID," directed by Robert Iscove from a teleplay by Anne Beatts.
You won't find any Disneyfied sea creatures singing a Broadway musical number under the sea; or a tacked-on Disney "happy ending" here. What we do have is a beautiful, live-action version that is faithful and true to Hans Christian Anderson's original bittersweet fairy tale.
The cast is superb. Pam Dawber's role as little mermaid Pearl, who sacrifices everything for the love of Sailor/Prince Andrew (the extremely attractive Treat Williams), is largely mute. So she must communicate her emotions mostly with just her eyes and face. The depth of sadness and despair she conveys in the face of unrequited love is truly heart-breaking.
Brian Dennehy is Pearl's father King Neptune, and also serves as Narrator. Loraine Newman and Donna McKechnie are featured as Pearl's sisters Coral and Anemone. Karen Black makes a memorable cameo appearance as the Sea Witch who begs Pearl not to sacrifice everything for the love of Andrew. "Trust me," she says, "no guy is worth it. Love is a disease that only humans catch. And once you've caught it, you can never be rid of it." The Sea Witch also tells her that when she walks on human legs, she will feel a pain like walking on knives. Nevertheless, she is prepared to endure anything. Unfortunately, although he cares for her, Andrew's heart belongs to Princess Amelia (Oscar winner Helen Mirren). Given a final opportunity to save herself, Pearl still can not and will not betray her beloved; teaching us that true love often requires truly tragic sacrifices. I actually cry every time I watch this.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Little Mermaid April 26, 2001
Format:VHS Tape
I enjoyed this movie very much. It met all of my expectations for a Faerie Tale Theatre film. It was great. It followed the original faerie tale version, so the end was a little sad (I almost felt like crying). But it taught a good lesson and did end on a happy note.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Don't expect Disney, and you might really like it April 28, 2010

Faerie Tale Theatre"s "The Little Mermaid" is a bit of a mixed bag. A heartfelt story with much more of a tragic tone than the more famous Disney adaptation, it is undermined mostly by laughable underwater swimming visual effects. However, it does also offer a great cast to compensate for other shortcomings.

Starring Pam Dawber, Brian Dennehy, and Treat Williams, "The Little Mermaid" shines in its screenplay and in its fairly sumptuous palace detail. Once Pearl, the titular mermaid played by Ms. Dawber is on dry land with her adored prince, the true strength of this adaptation comes through. Dawber can be very expressive without saying a word, and Treat Williams plays a very solid prince. Additionally, the prince's fiancee is played with unexpected compassion and authenticity by none other than Dame Helen Mirren.

Also starring Karen Black and Laraine Newman, Faerie Tale Theatre's "The Little Mermaid" is far from the best entry in the series. Nevertheless, it is very classy with admirable fidelity to Hans Christian Andersen's original story.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Good for a movie made in the 80's
In response to M. Reinking's review, I agree that Disney's The Little Mermaid was the best Little Mermaid movie. And the quality of the acting and etc. Read more
Published on January 19, 2005 by Amazon Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars Don't go Under the Sea for This One
Faerie Tale Theatre is a very charming series, a perfect way to entertain the family. From a very young age, I have enjoyed viewing the 1 hour videos based on classic stories that... Read more
Published on November 5, 2004 by M. Reinking
5.0 out of 5 stars A GREAT FILM IN THE CLASSIC 80's SERIES
This film takes us under the sea to explore the world of Pam Dawber as the Little Mermaid, curious about the world above. Read more
Published on June 6, 2004 by J. Fees
4.0 out of 5 stars Faerie Tale Theatre: The Little Mermaid
One of the most challenging faerie tales to recreate is this one, and overall, the makers of this Faerie Tale Theatre episode succeed in recreating it. Read more
Published on February 11, 2004 by Clob Lane
I have watched this movie over and over as a child and I never grew tired of hearing the TRUE story of the Little Mermaid. Read more
Published on February 7, 2003 by meghann chapman
5.0 out of 5 stars "The Little Mermaid," The Best Story From Beneath The Sea!
Robert Iscove's version of the "The Little Mermaid" is grand entertainment for fans of the story, and also fans of any tale at all. Read more
Published on June 9, 2002
5.0 out of 5 stars north carolina viewer
enjoyed it more than the disney classic. has more of an authentic taste to it. it's "surrealness" gives the flavor of a real faerie tale mermaid. Read more
Published on December 5, 1999
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