From the Brothers Grimm: Tom Davenport’s Fairy Tale Films

Compiled by Dr. Tina L. Hanlon, Ferrum College
2000-2010

The Films

|  Related Materials

|  Criticism

|  Related Criticism

The Films Directed by Tom Davenport

Links on titles below (in chronological order) are to descriptions of these films and parallel tales in AppLit's Annotated Index of Appalachian Folktales. The Davenport Films web site gives photos and background for all the films, including purchase information.

NEWS: Clips from some of the fairy tale films and other Davenport films are available online on YouTube, including the short film Making Grimm Movies.

Hansel and Gretel: An Appalachian Version, 1975. 16 minutes

Rapunzel, Rapunzel, 1979. 15 minutes

The Frog King, 1981. 27 minutes. The Making of the Frog King, 1982. 12 minutes

Bearskin, or The Man Who Didn't Wash for Seven Years, 1982. 20 minutes

The Goose Girl, 1983. 18 minutes

Jack and the Dentist’s Daughter, 1983. 40 minutes

Soldier Jack, or The Man Who Caught Death in a Sack, 1988. 40 minutes

Ashpet: An American Cinderella, 1990. 45 minutes

Bristlelip, 1992. 20 minutes

Mutzmag: An Appalachian Folktale, 1992. 53 minutes

Willa: An American Snow White, 1996. 85 minutes.

Winner of 1998 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Children's Video


Related Materials

The American Traditional Culture Series: Documentaries of the American South & Other American Folklore Subjects. Davenport's web pages on another series of films, including The Ballad of Frankie Silver, When My Work Is Over: The Life and Stories of Louise Anderson (a storyteller who played the role of the heroine's helper in Ashpet), and hunting tales by John E. "Frail" Joines in Being a Joines: A Life in the Brushy Mountains (NC).

Blow the Tannery Whistle: A Western Carolina Story. Videocassette. Dir. Tom Davenport. Written and performed by Gary Carden. Photographed and edited by Jonathan Hamilton. Davenport Films, 1993. 35 min. "Western North Carolina author and storyteller, Gary Carden, tells stories about his youth and small town life in the Southern Appalachian town of Sylva, N.C." (WorldCat).

Brown-Hudson Folklore Awards. Information on the awards established 1970 by the NC Folklore Society, with list of recipients, including Tom Davenport, 1995.

Camp, David. The Making of Willa:  An American Snow White. Interview with Tom Davenport. Press Release on Willa. Delaplane, VA:   Davenport Films, 1998.

Davenport Films. Web site contains background on each film and other publications, excerpts from reviews, photos and video clips from films, ordering information. http://www.davenportfilms.com.

Davenport, Tom. "Some Personal Notes on Adapting Folk-Fairy Tales to Film." Children’s Literature, vol. 9 (1981): 107-15.

Davenport, Tom. From the Brothers Grimm: A Teacher’s Guide. 1993.

Davenport, Tom. Making Grimm Movies. Davenport Films. 60-minute video and written guide. Available online at You.Tube.com.

Davenport, Tom. "On the Making of The Ballad of Frankie Silver: Remarks by the Filmmaker." North Carolina Folklore Journal 47:1 (Winter-Spring 2000 ): 15-23. "Making the Ballad of Frankie Silver" is now available in Folkstreams.net with the film and other background material.

Davenport, Tom, and Gary Carden. From the Brothers Grimm: A Contemporary Retelling of American Folktales and Classic Stories. Fort Atkinson, WI: Highsmith, 1992.  Storybook versions of all the films except Willa, with photos from the films. Foreword by Jack Zipes is available online.

Folkstreams.net. A web site created by Tom and Mimi Davenport, folklorist Daniel Patterson, and others in 2002  "to build a national preserve of hard-to-find documentary films about American folk or roots cultures.... [and] to give them renewed life by streaming them on the internet." Includes Davenport's documentary films about Appalachia and other American films.

"Folkstreams Documents America, An Hour At a Time. "Interview with Lyn Neary. Weekend Edition Saturday 26 May 2007. Audio file and print report with photo at NPR.org. 1435 words. Includes tiny audio clip from "Hansel and Gretel"and overview of Davenport's career as well as focus on Folkstreams web site.

Free Show Tonight. Film by Paul Wagner and Steven J. Zeitlin about medicine shows, with extensive background materials in Folkstreams.net. The background on medicine shows would be helpful when studying the historical setting of Willa when Willa, the Snow White character, does not live with dwarfs but runs off with three men in a medicine show, who protect her and exploit her acting talents.

McMillon, Bobby; and Jeffrey Gray. "The Ballad of Frankie Silver with an Epilogue: The Making of a Ballad Singer: Transcriptions of the Sound Track." North Carolina Folklore Journal, 47:1 (Winter-Spring 2000):  pp. 24-54.

Upperville, Virginia. Dir. Tom Davenport, 1970. Black and white film. "Presents scenes of the oldest American horse show in Virginia with views of the rural aristocracy who attend the show" (Worldcat).

When My Work Is Over: The Life and Stories of Louise Anderson, 1921-1994. Dir. Tom Davenport. The American Traditional Culture Series. Davenport Films, 2000. 38 min. Interviews conducted with Anderson 1989-1993, and her sisters. She was a storyteller from Georgia and NC who played the role of the heroine's helper Dark Sally in Ashpet. Film available at Folkstreams.net with background material in print, including stories by Anderson.
 

Criticism: Reviews, Articles, Reference Books

Alleva, Richard. "KIDS' VIDS: To be Seen & Heard." Commonweal, vol. 129 (8 Mar. 2002): 18. Full text accessed online 9/10/03 through Academic Index ASAP. Includes a paragraph on Davenport's films among recommendations of other excellent videos for children.

Cox, Carole. "The Folktale Films of Tom Davenport, or, Making the Devil Useful." English Journal, vol. 74 (1985): 87-88.

Cox, Carole. Review of Bearskin, or The Man Who Didn't Wash for Seven Years. English Journal, vol. 74 (Sept. 1985): 87ff.

Cox, Carole. Review of Bristlelip. English Journal, vol. 74 (Sept. 1985): 88.

Cox, Carole. Review of The Goose Girl. English Journal, vol. 74 (Sept. 1985): 88.

Cox, Carole. Review of Jack and the Dentist's Daughter. English Journal, vol. 74 (Sept. 1985): 88.

Cunningham, Keith. "'On Being': Tom Davenport's North Carolina Films." North Carolina Folklore Journal, vol. 35 (Summer-Fall 1988 ): 103-108. Includes a photo from each film. Analyzes Born for Hard Luck: Peg Leg Sam Jackson, Being a Joines: A Life in the Bushy Mountain, and A Singing Stream: A Black Family's Chronicle. Describes Davenport as "one of the two or three most important and successful folklore filmmakers active in America," since his work has endured and has its own style and "a uniquely autobiographical approach" in presenting the lives and values of North Carolina folk performers (p. 103). Reprinted at this link in Ibiblio.net web site about Being A Joines.

"Davenport, Tom." The Oxford Encyclopedia of Children's Literature. Ed. Jack Zipes. New York: Oxford University Press, 2006.

Dzuris, Linda. "Using Folk Songs and Ballads in an Interdisciplinary Approach to American History." The History Teacher 36.3 (2003): 15 pars. 5 Jun. 2007 <http://www.historycooperative.org/journals/ht/36.3/dzuris.html>.  Includes Davenport's folklore film The Singing Stream. Discusses an honors course on "truth in song" at Clemson University.

Ford, Gary D. "Through the Eyes of a Child." Southern Living, vol. 28 (October 1993): 100-104.

"From the Brothers Grimm" (brief review). Journal of Reading, vol. 38 (March 1995): 510.

Gaffney, Maureen. "Evaluating Attitude: Analyzing Point of View and Tone in Film Adaptations of Literature." Children's Literature, vol. 9 (1981): pp. 116-125. Available online through library services such as Project Muse. Includes discussion of Davenport's Hansel and Gretel as a very successful film cinematically, "a gripping, no-frills treatment" of the Grimm Brothers Tale, because "dialogue and action were pared to the bone" (p. 117-18).

Gaffney, Maureen. "An Interview with Tom Davenport." Film Library Quarterly, vol. 9 (1976): 16-20.

Gaffney, Maureen. "Tom Davenport Discusses His Breakthrough Fairy Tale Films." Young Viewers/Sightlines, vol. 1, no. 3 (Spring 1978), 5-7.

Gaurgert, Richard. Review of The Frog King or Faithful Henry. The Horn Book Magazine, vol. 58 (Feb. 1982): 73ff.

Gruner, Elizabeth Rose. "Saving 'Cinderella': History and Story in Ashpet and Ever After." Children's Literature, vol. 31 (2003): 142-54. Compares Davenport's film and the 1998 20th Century Fox film. Analyzes Ashpet under the hea ding "Storytelling and the Maternal Legacy." Includes discussion of storyteller Louise Anderson as the narrator and "fairy godmother" figure in Ashpet. Article online through Project Muse at http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/childrens_literature/v031/31.1gruner.html.

Haase, Donald. "Davenport, Tom." The Oxford Companion to Fairy Tales. Ed. Jack Zipes. Oxford: Oxford U. Press, 2000. 121.

Hanlon, Tina L. "Davenport, Tom (1939–)." The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Folktales and Fairy Tales. Ed. Donald Haase. Vol. 1. Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press, 2008. 253-55. With one photo from Jack and the Dentist's Daughter. Davenport films are also mentioned in the entries "Beech Mountain Jack Tale," "Cinderella," and "North American Tales."

Hanlon, Tina L. “Magic and Reality in Tom Davenport’s Fairy Tale Films.” Paper presented at Biennial Conference on Modern Critical Approaches to Children’s Literature. Nashville. Mar. 1999.

Hanlon, Tina L. “Once Upon a Time in Appalachia: Tom Davenport’s Fairy Tale Films.” Paper presented at Virginia Humanities Conference. Ferrum College, VA. Apr. 1998. Detailed abstract in AppLit.

Hanlon, Tina L. "Oral Traditions and Modern Adaptations: Survey of Appalachian Folktales in Children's Literature." Paper presented at Appalachian Studies Association Conference, Knoxville, TN, March 26, 2000, revised in AppLit 2004. 

Hanlon, Tina L. “Popular Culture and Intertextuality in Willa: An American Snow White.” Paper presented at Popular Culture in the South Conference. Roanoke, VA. 7 Oct. 1999.

Hanlon, Tina L. “Strong Women in Appalachian Folktales.” The Lion & the Unicorn, vol. 24 (April 2000): 225-46. Compares various retellings and adaptations of Appalachian folktales that feature heroic females. Available online through Project Muse at http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/lion_and_the_unicorn/v024/24.2hanlon.html. See also Annotated Bibliography on Strong Women in Appalachian Folktales

Hanlon, Tina L. “Strong Women in Appalachian Folktale Dramatizations by R. Rex Stephenson." 2001-2003. Published at this link in AppLit. Includes some points of comparison with Davenport's Mutzmag and Ashpet.

Harries, Elizabeth Wanning. "The Violence of the Lambs." Marvels & Tales 19.1 (2005): 54-66. Wayne State University Press. Available through library services such as Project Muse. Article on violence in fairy tales, referring to destruction of the stepmother in different versions of "Snow White."

Harrington, Richard. "Tom Davenport's Film Folk: The True-to-Life Fairy Tales of a Virginia Moviemaker." The Washington Post 4 Mar. 1989, Final Edition: Style C1. Full text accessed through Lexis-Nexis 5/7/03. About the screening of Davenport's 8th fairy tale film at the American Film Institute, and awards won by Soldier Jack. Includes quotations by Davenport, comments on the nature of folktales and child audiences, and favorable comparisons between his live action films and the better known series by Shelley Duvall.

Jones, Steven Swann. "Review of Willa: An American Snow White." Marvels & Tales:  Journal of Fairy-Tale Studies, vol. 12 (1998): 394–97.

Kalin, Carla. "Television, Violence, and Children." College of Education, University of Oregon, 1997. Online. http://interact.uoregon.edu/MediaLit/mlr/readings/articles/kalin.html. Media literacy study on violence and behavior; recommends teaching activities comparing media versions of stories, such as Davenport's Ashpet.

McCray, Nancy. Review of Mutzmag: An Appalachian Folktale. Booklist, vol. 89 (1 Apr. 1993): 1450. Review Grade: A

McLeod, Debbie. Review of Willa: An American Snow White. Booklist, vol. 94 (1 Nov. 1997): 490. Full text accessed online 9/10/03 through Academic Index ASAP. Review Grade: A.

Manna, Anthony L. "The Americanization of the Brothers Grimm; Or, Tom Davenport's Film Adaptations of German Folktales." Children's Literature Association Quarterly, vol. 13 (1988): 118-21. Available online through library services such as Project Muse.

Mikkelsen, Nina. "Richard Chase's Jack Tales: A Trickster in the New World." Touchstones: Reflections on the Best in Children's Literature. Vol. 2:  Fairy Tales, Fables Myths, Legends and Poetry. Ed. Perry Nodelman. West Lafayette, IN: Children's Literature Association, 1987. 40-55.

Rollin, Lucy, ed. The Antic Art: Enhancing Children's Literature Experiences through Film and Video. Fort Atkinson, WI: Highsmith, 1993.  Includes essay by Davenport on filmmaking, panel discussion with Davenport, and "'No Chalkmark on the Mantel': Power and Violence in Mutzmag" by Sappho Charney.

Sherman, Sharon R. "Ballad, Legend, and Film: The Representation of Frankie Silver." Journal of American Folklore, vol. 113 (Spring 2000): 207ff. Review of Davenport's video on "The Ballad of Frankie Silver" (not in the fairy tale series). 207ff.

Sherman, Sharon R. "Davenport, Tom." Encyclopedia of Appalachia. Ed. Rudy Abramson and Jean Haskell. Knoxville: Univ. of Tennessee Press, 2006, p. 1703 (in section on Media).

Speer, Jean Haskell. "Folk Tradition and Industrialization in Appalachia." Journal of the Appalachian Studies Association, vol. 2 (1990): pp. 11-20.

YouTube.com clips of Davenport films are accompanied by viewer comments and questions.

Zipes, Jack. The Enchanted Screen: The Unknown History of Fairy-Tale Films. New York: Routledge, 2011.

Zipes, Jack.  "Once Upon a Time beyond Disney: Contemporary Fairy-Tale Films for Children." Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales, Children, and the Culture Industry. New York: Routledge, 1997. pp. 89-110.

Zipes, Jack. "Once Upon a Time beyond Disney: Contemporary Fairy-Tale Films for Children." In Front of the Children: Screen Entertainment and Young Audiences. Eds. Cary Bazalgette and David Buckingham. London: British Film Institute, 1995. pp. 109-26.

Zipes, Jack. When Dreams Come True: Classical Fairytales and Their Tradition. New York: Routledge, 1999.
 

Related Criticism

Deszcz, Justyna. "Beyond the Disney Spell, or Escape into Pantoland." Folklore, vol. 113 (April 2002): 83ff. Full text accessed online 9/10/03 through Academic Index ASAP. Critical essay, using Jack Zipes's socio-historical approach, on the popularity of Disney fairy tales and "Angela Carter's short story, 'In Pantoland,' a subversive fairytale, providing interesting parallels to the lineaments and dimensions of Disneyland." Mentions Zipes' reference to Davenport as one of the filmmakers who produce "provocative endeavors to deconstruct the established interpretations of the genre."

Glass, Ruth. Review of Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales, Children, and the Culture Industry by Jack Zipes. Folklore, Annual 1999. 118. Mentions Davenport as an innovative filmmaker.

Haase, Donald P. "Gold into Straw: Fairy Tale Movies for Children and the Culture Industry." The Lion & the Unicorn, vol. 12 (1988): 193-207.

Jackson, Joyce Marie. Review of A Singing Stream: A Black Family Chronicle. Ethnomusicology, vol. 38 (Spring-Summer 1994): 391ff. Review of Davenport film from his American Traditional Culture Series.

Patterson, Beverly B. "Give Me the Truth!": The Frankie Silver Story in Contemporary North Carolina." Journal of American Folklore, vol. 113 (Spring 2000): pp. 200ff. Review of Davenport's video on "The Ballad of Frankie Silver" (not in the fairy tale series).

Patterson, Daniel. "The Ballad and the Legends of Frankie Silver: A Search for the Woman's Voice." Journal of American Folklore, vol. 113 (Spring 2000): pp. 203ff. Review of Davenport's video on "The Ballad of Frankie Silver" (not in the fairy tale series).

Sherman, Sharon R. "Ballad, Legend, and Film: The Representation of Frankie Silver." Journal of American Folklore, vol. 113.448 (Spring 2000): 207(4).

Stone, Kay. "And She Lived Happily Ever After." Women and Language, vol. 19 (1996): 14-18.

Stott, Jon. "Will the Real Dragon Stand Up? Convention and Parody in Children's Stories." Children's Literature in Education, vol. 21 (1990): 219-28. Reprinted in Crosscurrents of Children's Literature: An Anthology of Texts and Criticism. Ed. J. D. Stahl, Tina L. Hanlon, and Elizabeth Lennox Keyser, Oxford University Press, 2006.

SurLaLune Fairy Tale Pages by Heidi Ann Heiner contains reprints of many fairy tales and a wealth of related material on fairy tale variants, traditions, illustrations, and adaptations.

Tullus, Allen. "Disremembering and Remembering: Embodied Experience and Oral History: Comments Accompanying the Showing of the Film Documentary Being a Joines." Revue Francaise d'Etudes Americaines, vol. 15:44 (Apr. 1990): pp. 77-85.

Yolen, Jane. "America's 'Cinderella.'" Children's Literature in Education, vol. 8 (1977): 21-29. Critique of Disney film and other modern weakened versions of "Cinderella."

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