Once Upon a Girl (1976)

Sexually repressed animators take a preverted twist on some classic fairy tales. Severin Films R0 DVD release, due 14th November.

The Film

In a court-house in Middle America, an old woman is on trial. Claiming to be Mother Goose herself, she is accused of telling obscene stories. She contests this allegation, claiming that she was only telling the truth that generations of repressive kings have hidden away - the true stories behind the classic fairy tale characters. First we meet Jack; obsessed with sucking teats, he sells the family cow for a suck on a gypsy's nipples and some magic beans - but when these beans grow into a beanstalk, and Jack ends up in the castle of a giant, and his horny wife, how will he survive? What of Cinderella, who's father was seduced by a hag with a love potion purchased from the Witch of the Wang, and who is forced to do house-work for her hideous step-sisters, yet is the desire of a near-by Prince? Then the poor tale of Red Riding Hood - forced to pay the terrible price of passage by all the men of the forest as she ran to a wedding... and just how will all these stories affect the courthouse jury!?

Obscenely daft and enjoyable, Once Upon a Girl is entertaining from the very start. Split into three stories, (although with various other cameo roles, including Pimpy the 8th Dwarf), the classic fairy tales are twisted into erotic fables, packed full of random sex and nudity. The humour is unashamedly purile (witness Jack hiding inside the pussy of the giant's wife as she is roundly screwed by her husband) and there is plenty of swearing to boot (not quite to a Southpark level), but the film still raises a laugh and the explicitness and swearing never go over-the-top. To the film's detriment, it does sometimes seem to have been over-extended to the feature film length, and some scenes do drag a little - an trimming to an hour could have done it some favours - while some of the running gags (notably Jack's stutter) get a little tiresome, yet the film is rarely dull and has a fitting conclusion.

Although beginning with the live action courthouse scenes, the story soon moves into animation as Mother Goose begins her tales. The animated scenes are typical of the 1970s and should be recognisable to fans of the various Hannah-Barbara television series (director Don Jurwich had previously worked on Scooby-Doo), the music helps to add to the daft tone of the whole production and the live action scenes are well directed.

Frequent voice-over artist Hal Smith, best known as Otis the town drunk in the Andy Griffith show, plays Mother Goose with just the right degree of pantomime, while the rest of the voices are nicely done and fit the tone of the film perfectly.

Ultimately, Once Upon a Girl is not for everyone, and certainly not for kids. However, it makes for a very entertaining evening's viewing, and is a quite unique film, with some wonderfully purile humour and plenty of shameful laughs to be had. Enjoyable for both men and women (and a great film to watch as a couple), it comes recommended.

In brief:

Anyone famous in it? No-one of note.
Directed by anyone interesting? Don Jurwich - a Hollywood animator, best known for directing GI Joe: the Movie (1987)
Any gore/violence? None.
Any sex? Innumerable and often quite explicit cartoon sex scenes, with a brief live action topless scene.


Visuals Original Aspect Ratio  - 1.85:1 widescreen. Colour.
Print quality is very good with only some minor flicker and a mild layer of film grain.
Audio English mono. Sounds fine.
Subtitles None.
Extras The disc includes:
  • Original trailer, decent condition.
  • An interesting interview with executive producer William Siverkleit who explains the background to the film. (9 minutes)
      ReleasedDue for release on the 14th November.
      Region Region 0 (ALL) - NTSC
      Other regions? No other releases.
      Cuts? Believed to be Fully uncut.



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      All text in this review written by Timothy Young - 30th October 2006.
      Text from this review not to be used without authorization.

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