Charlotte's Web (1973) Movie Review
Long before there was Babe, and long before The Lion King crooned about "The Circle of Life," Charlotte's Web taught every child about life, friendship, and death -- all courtesy of a talking pig and his spider friend, Charlotte.
Voiced by Debbie Reynolds, Charlotte is the world's most existential spider ("We're born, we live a little, and we die."), and her soothing voice manages to calm Wilbur the pig (shakily voiced by Henry Gibson) through countless crises -- namely his ever-impending death by the farmer's axe. And sure enough, Wilbur grows from timid piglet into the pride of the farm, thanks to Charlotte's confidence-boosting messages (Some Pig! Terrific! Radiant!) that make him the talk of the tri-state area.
The 1973 animation (courtesy of Hanna-Barbera) is nothing special, in fact it's often downright bad, but E.B. White's classic fable needs little to make it come to life. Especially giddy is Paul Lynde's wry Templeton the rat ("It says: Crunchy."), whom I oddly still quote today. Fortunately, the new DVD gives us a widescreen presentation of the film that is scratch-and-pop-free.
A must-own for anyone with children, and a must-see for everyone else.