The Pied PiperJacques Demy, 1972, U.S.
The great Jacques Demy (The Umbrellas of Cherbourg) directed this masterful retelling of the classic children's tale. Set in the Middle Ages, the divided town of Hamelin tries in vain to rid itself of the Black Plague. Music legend Donovan plays a mysterious musician who arrives in town promising to rid the town of their rat infestation by playing his magical flute, but the townspeople cannot put aside their personal agendas and ask the piper to help them with other deeds, as the town’s petty and greedy leader, the sublimely creepy Donald Pleasence (Halloween) attempts to take advantage of their new savior. With great music and spectacular costumes and sets, The Pied Piper is a fascinating take on a familiar legend. Wonderfully shot by Peter Suschitzky (The Empire Strikes Back) and featuring a splendid cast that includes John Hurt (Alien), Jack Wild (Oliver!), Peter Vaughan (Straw Dogs), Roy Kinnear (How I Won the War), Michael Hordern (The Bed Sitting Room), Cathryn Harrison (Black Moon) and Diana Dors (A Kid for Two Farthings).