Gentle Giant

Overview

The title character is a benign 7-foot-tall grizzly bear perhaps all grizzlies are benign, but we're not about to get close enough to find out. Little Clint Howard befriends the bear, naming the beast Ben. Clint's wildlife-officer dad Dennis Weaver and mom Vera Miles have some trouble adjusting to the boy's new pet, but all ends happily after a lengthy sojourn in the Everglades. The best scenes involve ex-Bowery-Boy Huntz Hall, here playing a grizzled old swamp tramp. The upshot of Gentle Giant's success was the ...
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Overview

The title character is a benign 7-foot-tall grizzly bear perhaps all grizzlies are benign, but we're not about to get close enough to find out. Little Clint Howard befriends the bear, naming the beast Ben. Clint's wildlife-officer dad Dennis Weaver and mom Vera Miles have some trouble adjusting to the boy's new pet, but all ends happily after a lengthy sojourn in the Everglades. The best scenes involve ex-Bowery-Boy Huntz Hall, here playing a grizzled old swamp tramp. The upshot of Gentle Giant's success was the TV series Gentle Ben, which also starred Howard and Weaver and which ran from 1967 through 1969.
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
Gentle Giant is a gentle adventure movie, the kind that parents can watch with their children without worrying that anything untoward is going to happen or that there will be too much blood and gore. (However, those with very sensitive children should be aware that there is a bit of death and sadness involved.) Those who want a film with more "oomph" and impact will need to look elsewhere, as will those who are not ready to accept a number of clichés common to films of this type. However, director James Neilson and his cast treat these clichés with such respect that they end up surprisingly effective. (Neilson also takes advantage of his everglades setting to create a number of shots that have a strange, muted beauty to them.) As Mark, Clint Howard is right on the money; he's cute and winsome, but not cloying, and his performance is natural and free from fuss. Dennis Weaver and Vera Miles do much more with their roles as his parents than is required, and Ralph Meeker is an appropriately sleazy villain, but it's Ben the Bear who is the real star; watching this gentle giant, it's hard not to fall in line with the story and give yourself over to wishing it were you and not Clint Howard that were a friend with him.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 4/15/1997
  • UPC: 017153148039
  • Original Release: 1967
  • Rating:

  • Source: Republic Pictures
  • Format: VHS

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Dennis Weaver Tom Wedloe
Vera Miles Ellen Wedloc
Ralph Meeker Fog Hanson
Clint Howard Mark Wedloe
Huntz Hall Dink
Charles Martin Mike
Rance Howard Tater
Frank Schuller Charlie
Robertson White Swenson
Ric O'Feldman Mate
Ben the Bear
Levirne de Bord Second Fisherman
Frank Logan Second Townsman
Alfred Metz First Fisherman
Jerry Newby First Townsman
James Piddle Skipper
Technical Credits
James Neilson Director
Warren Adams Editor
Bruce Bushman Art Director
Peter Colbert Editor
Ralph Helfer Consultant/advisor
Don Ivey Set Decoration/Design
Jack Johnson Special Effects
Edward J. Lasko Screenwriter
Samuel Matlovsky Score Composer, Musical Direction/Supervision
Ivan Tors Producer
Andy White Screenwriter
Howard Winner Cinematographer
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