The 3 Worlds of Gulliver is a 1960 Eastman Color Columbia Pictures fantasy film loosely based upon the 18th-century Irish novel Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift. The film stars Kerwin Mathews as the title character, June Thorburn as his fiancée Elizabeth, and child actor Sherry Alberoni as Glumdalclitch.
Filmed in England and Spain, Gulliver was directed by Jack Sher and featured stop-motion animation and special visual effects by Ray Harryhausen. The cast includes Martin Benson as Flimnap, Lee Patterson as Reldresal, Jo Morrow as Gwendolyn, Mary Ellis as the Queen of Brobdingnag, Marian Spencer as the Empress of Lilliput, Peter Bull as Lord Bermogg, and Alec Mango as the Minister of Lilliput.
In 1699, Dr Lemuel Gulliver (Kerwin Mathews) is an impoverished surgeon who seeks riches and adventure as a ship's doctor on a voyage around the world. His fiancée Elizabeth (June Thorburn) strongly wishes for him to settle down, and the two quarrel.
Gulliver embarks on the voyage and is soon discovered that Elizabeth has stowed away aboard his ship to be near him. A storm develops and sweeps him overboard. Gulliver is washed ashore on Lilliput, a land of tiny humans who see him as a threatening giant. The Lilliputians are afraid of Gulliver and tie him down with stakes to the beach, but he eases their fears by performing several acts of kindness. An old quarrel between Lilliput and neighboring Blefuscu is revived, and Gulliver lends a hand by towing Blefuscu's warships far out to sea. Lilliput's Emperor (Basil Sydney) then views the giant as a threat to his throne after Gulliver is critical of the reasons for the war. Gulliver escapes in a boat he had previously built when the Emperor orders his execution.
He makes his way to a large isle Brobdingnag, unaware that it was inhabited by Brobdingnagians, a race of 60 foot giants. After making shore, he encounters a very kind 40 foot peasant brobdingnagian girl named Glumdalclitch (Sherry Alberoni) finds him on the shore and carries him to the castle of King Brob (Grégoire Aslan) Their law requires that all tiny people be brought to the King, who has a collection of "tiny animals". Gulliver is delighted to find Elizabeth, who was washed ashore following a shipwreck. The King installs the two in a dollhouse and lets Glumdalclitch look after them.
The King marries Gulliver and Elizabeth. After the wedding. Gulliver and Elizabeth go outside to celebrate but are attacked by a giant squirrel, which drags Gulliver into its burrow. Glumdalclitch, however, is alerted and saves Gulliver by pulling him out of the burrow using her hair. When Gulliver later defeats the King at Chess and cures the Queen (Mary Ellis) of a simple stomach-ache, Prime Minister Makovan (Charles Lloyd-Pack) accuses Gulliver of witchcraft. Gulliver's attempts at explaining science to them, but this is taken as further "proof". The King orders his execution and pits his pet alligator against Gulliver, who is able to slay the creature. The King orders him burned, but Glumdalclitch saves Gulliver and Elizabeth from the pursuing Brobdingnagians by placing them in her sewing basket and tossing the basket into a brook that flows out to the sea.
Gulliver and Elizabeth wake on a beach with Glumdalclitch's small basket behind them. A passer-by of their own size indicates they are only a short distance from their home in England. Elizabeth asks if it had all been a dream. Gulliver, now happy to settle down with Elizabeth, replies that the bad qualities of the pettiness of Lilliput and ignorance of Brobdingnag are inside everyone. When Elizabeth asks about Glumdalclitch, Gulliver gives her a knowing look and says that she has yet to be born.
In The New York Times of December 17, 1960, Eugene Archer praised the film's technical achievement in stop-motion animation and enthusiastically recommended it for children but noted, "adults will find it all too mechanical to really capture the imagination, and may resent the unclear ending that seems certain to provoke some youthful queries. They should be grateful for a children's film that treats a classic without condescension or burlesque."
Ray Harryhausen did the squirrel and alligator sequences in the film. The oldest Harryhausen model still existing that was made for the film is the squirrel from Gulliver, obtained from a taxidermist by Harryhausen. The original armatured model of the alligator used in the film was mysteriously lost.Dell Four Color #1158 (January 1961)