The first of two independent color films Abbott and
Costello made in 1952, JACK AND THE BEANSTALK is a mildly pleasant take
on the famous fairly tale that might be entertaining for kids but is
hardly one of the team's best films. Lou plays a hapless fellow named
Jack who scores a baby-sitting job; Bud plays Mr. Dinkel, his agent, a
sure sign that there really was no proper place for Bud in this film at
all. As the boy Lou baby-sits begins to read "Jack and the
Beanstalk" to him, Lou falls asleep and the film transitions from sepia
(or black and white in most prints) to color, like THE WIZARD OF
OZ. Jack the Baby Sitter becomes Jack the eventual Giant Killer
and Mr. Dinkel becomes Mr. Dinkelpuss, the man who sells him the magic
beans. After the sale, there really isn't much need for Abbott to
remain in the film, but of course he does because this is supposed to
be an Abbott and Costello film. So when Jack goes up the
beanstalk to see The Giant (Buddy Baer), Mr. Dinkelpuss goes with him.
As in THE WIZARD OF OZ, real world characters are carried over into the fairy tale: the young woman who needs a baby-sitter for her little brother becomes the princess in the tale, her beau becomes the prince, the oversized cop who menaces Lou becomes the giant, and so on. Also like THE WIZARD OF OZ, there is much singing and dancing, but unlike that film, most of the singing and dancing in JACK AND THE BEANSTALK is forgettable. Perhaps the only worthwhile tune is Lou's "I Fear Nothing", which he sings with much gusto and reprises at the end of the film.
A pet project of Lou Costello's, the most common prints of JACK AND THE BEANSTALK in circulation today are hand-me-downs with scratches and faded color. But even if you found the best possible print, the film would still be ranked as one of the teams lesser movies. - JB
In the film's final production number, when Jack and Mr. Dinkelpuss return and the Giant is dead, there is a shot of Bud Abbott singing. Unfortunately somebody else dubbed Bud's lines. I don't know if Bud Abbott could sing or not (Lou could hardly sing, but he always gave it the old college try) but with that classic gruff voice, it would have been interesting to hear Bud's do his own singing.
Lou's brother-in-law Joe Kirk has a bit part in the film.
A&C fans remember him better as Mr. Baccigalupe in the first season
of The Abbott and Costello Show.