(A Hercegnő és a Kobold)
Director – Jozsef Gemes, Screenplay/Producer – Robin Lyons, Based on the Novel by George MacDonald, Music – Istvan Lerch, Animation Director – Les Orton. Production Company – Siriol Productions/Pannonia Film Co/S4C Wales/NHK Enterprises Inc.
Rik Mayall (Prince Froglet), Joss Ackland (The King), Peggy Mount, Mollie Sugden, Claire Bloom, Roy Kinnear, Sally Ann Marsh, Peter Murray, Victor Spinetti, Frank Rozelaar Green, William Hootkins, Maxine Howe, Steve Lyons, Robin Lyons
Young Princess Irene strays away into the woods where she is menaced by goblins. She is saved by the young mining boy Curdie who drives the goblins away with his singing, something they hate. While working in the mines, Curdie falls through into the goblin kingdom where he overhears the goblin Prince Froglip’s plans to flood the mines and take revenge on the Sun People (humans) by marrying Irene. He and Irene, guided by the ghost of her great-great-grandmother, race to stop the goblins’ nefarious plan.
This is a Hungarian-made animated feature. It is based on The Princess and the Goblin (1972), one of the most well-known novels by early Scoittish fantasy writer George MacDonald. The film was an international co-production, although failed to gain any widespread English-language release.
The filmed version is surprisingly faithful to the novel and emerges as a surprisingly likable effort pitched for young children. It has an appealing softness to it – the princess comes with just the right degree of poignant innocence and fragility and the world outside is stacked with just the right degree of outsized menace to make her journey a suitably terror-fraught one. The only complaints with The Princess and the Goblin are the ending where the princess never gets to save the day by using the magic in her heart as she has been taught by her great-great-grandmother – the mining boy does.
The English-language voiceovers are well done, with Rik Mayall shining as the lisping goblin prince and Joss Ackland doing a wonderfully dignified voice-over as the king.