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Released December 2, 2001 (part 1)
December 4, 2001 (part 2)
Duration 184 minutes
Director Brian Henson
Written by James V. Hart, Brian Henson, Bill Barretta
Music Rupert Gregson-Williams
Studio Hallmark Entertainment

Jack and the Beanstalk: The Real Story was a two part TV-movie inspired by the fairy tale Jack and the Beanstalk that aired on CBS in December 2001. The film, produced by The Jim Henson Company and Hallmark Entertainment, was directed by Brian Henson and featured effects by the Jim Henson Creature Shop. The first half of the film aired on CBS as a 2-hour television event on Sunday December 2, 2001 (9-11pm ET/PT); the second half aired on Tuesday, December 4, 2001 (9-11pm ET/PT). The film was released on video and DVD immediately following the television premiere.

Production was based as Elstree Studios in Borehamwood, England. Location shoots took place at Belvoir Castle, Windsor Great Park and Leighton Buzzard in England.

β€œIf you thought you knew the story of the boy and his beanstalk... you don't know Jack.”


Part 1

Jack has a giant skeleton in his closet.

Jack Robinson is a wealthy business man with no time for much of anything aside from work. However, a family curse is looming over him - no man in the Robinson line has lived past the age of forty for roughly 400 years.

When a beautiful and mysterious woman, going only by the name of Ondine, corners Jack in a restaurant, she alleges that the Robinson family empire is not built on the blood, sweat, and tears of his ancestors, but on the feathery back of someone named Gallaga. In an ominous tone, she warns that his time is almost up, and unless he rights the wrongs of his ancestors, he too shall suffer their fate. Jack is confused and stunned, but nonetheless interested. However, the young beauty vanishes as quickly as she appeared.

However, Jack has bigger problems on his hands - the latest project for Robinson Enterprises has run into a bit of a "hiccup." While digging the foundation for a new casino, the workmen have stumbled upon some enormous bones in the ground - and they don't belong to any dinosaur.

Jack goes to see an old relative (whom he previously believed to be dead) Willy, and she tells Jack the ancient fairy tale of Jack and the Beanstalk - about a poor boy who steals from an evil and greedy giant. She also reveals that the fairy tale is true, but that the version of it they all know may not be. Jack learns that he is a descendent from the Jack in the story. Willy gives him a necklace, which she says is the key to Jack's salvation.

Ondine appears again to tell Jack that she is from the giant world and was sent to retrieve the stolen goose and harp that Jack's ancestor stole years ago. When Jack says he doesn't know where they are she warns that she is supposed to bring him back with her if she cannot find them.

Before anything can be done, however, she pulls out two glowing objects and warns him (as well as the police, who've just arrived) to stay back. By smashing the objects together, she is transported away in an ensuing explosion, leaving a stunned Jack behind.   

Jack runs off into the woods to think. He finds a bean inside the necklace Willy gave him and he plants it.

Jack then falls asleep only to awake to a giant beanstalk where the bean was planted. Jack decides to climb the beanstalk...

Part 2

The kind and friendly Thunderdell falls to his death in attempt to save the gifts that rejuvenate the world.

When Jack reaches the top of the beanstalk he finds himself in the land of the giants. He soon comes across Ondine but Jack is arrested and taken to stand trial for his family's crime.

Jack learns that the story of Jack and the Beanstalk we know is distorted, warped and bias and is told the real story. The Giant, Thunderdell, was a kind and peaceful creature - in fact he was one of the nicest giants there ever was. He had a biological son named Bran and took Ondine in as his foster daughter. Ondine then showed Jack (the one being Jack's ancestor) where the goose and harp were kept. Later, Jack greedily betrayed Thunderdell's warm hospitality and friendship. He stole the goose and harp which were needed to keep the land green and alive (even as Thunderdell pleaded with him to give it back and promised him more golden eggs) - without it the land would die. Jack murdered the giant out of greed with no regard of the repercussions of his actions on the innocent and friendly people of the land in the clouds.

It is also revealed that the first Jack was the love-interest of Ondine, only to desert her when he betrayed her people.

The giant court sentences Jack Robinson to death to repay the crimes of his family. Ondine, however, has been feeling sympathy towards Jack and realizes she may be falling in love with him. At first she tries to deny it, but Bran kindly tells her it's all right. After asking if he would ever betray her, she takes the prisoner back to Earth in an attempt to find the goose and harp – but they must hurry as the giants will soon be coming after them to kill Jack.

After Jack returns to his world, he learns that Willy was the First Jack's mother, who had been cursed to live to see her son, and his son, and so forth, die, because she was the one who decapitated Thunderdell after he fell to earth.

As time passes differently on Earth than in the giant's world, years have past since Jack climbed the beanstalk and Jack Robinson has been long declared dead.

"Siggy", the former Chief Operating Officer, has taken Jack's place. With no other Robinson's left, Siggy has inherited the entire fortune and will do anything to guard the goose and harp.

Jack and Ondine break-in to the company vaults and take back the goose and harp to return to the giants.

After much pursuit, from both Siggy's security and the giants, Jack returns the harp and goose to the giant's world. The harp once again plays its song, the goose can lay its eggs and the world becomes rejuvenated and green once again.

Then peacefully, Willy dies, Siggy has been sent to a mental hospital, and Ondine is allowed to spend a giant week (seven years) with Jack.

Home Video


The telefilm was release was released on both VHS and DVD by Hallmark Home Entertainment in December 2001. The 184-minute feature was the complete 2-part telefilm edited into a single continuous full length movie. The DVD version of the film was presented in the original 16:9 anamorphic widescreen (unlike the TV airing). The DVD also included both a 5.1 Dolby Digital audio mix and a 2.0 Dolby Digital audio mix in addition to 2 featurettes ("A Look Behind the Scenes" and "Jim Henson's Creature Shop Special"), detailed production notes, 11-chapter scene selection and interactive animated menus.


See also