Tia (Kim Richards) and Tony (Ike Eisenmann) are two orphaned youngsters with extraordinary powers. Lucas Deranian (Donald Pleasence) poses as their uncle in order to get the kids into the clutches of Deranian's megalomaniacal boss, evil millionaire Aristotle Bolt (Ray Milland), who wants to exploit them. Jason (Eddie Albert), a cynical widower, helps Tia and Tony "escape to witch mountain," while at the same time Tia and Tony help Jason escape the pain of the loss of his wife.
Eddie Albert ... Jason O'Day
Ray Milland ... Aristotle Bolt
Donald Pleasence ... Lucas Deranian
Kim Richards ... Tia Malone
Ike Eisenmann ... Tony Malone
Walter Barnes ... Sheriff Purdy
Reta Shaw ... Mrs. Grindley
Denver Pyle ... Uncle Bene
Alfred Ryder ... Astrologer
Lawrence Montaigne ... Ubermann
Terry Wilson ... Biff Jenkins
George Chandler ... Grocer
Dermott Downs ... Truck
Shepherd Sanders ... Guru
A long time ago, I was into books. This isn't a light phrase, I took out multitudes of them from the library. Alexander Key wrote a neat novel called "Escape to Witch Mountain" about a priest named Father O'Day who helps two siblings return to their people. It was a very good book, and I knew when I bought the book from the Book Fair that it was a reprint to endorse the movie. However, at that time, my movie-experiences were minimal. It took several years for me to actually be able to see the movie (when Disney first brought out the Disney Channel, iirc) and I was a bit surprised at the liberties that were taken with Key's book. The priest became the widower, and the beat up car became the RV. Bolt was not in the book, but he was an interesting main-villian, and I enjoyed the movie. My son, who is now 6 (Tues this week) enjoys watching it on VHS as much as I do!
Return was not as good--it was a "let's make money by doing a sequel" but it was cool too. As that 5th grader, I knew what it was to be outside the norm, and I wanted to have the same powers that Tia did, so I guess that's saying something!
I too place this movie with Parent Trap, Candleshoe, and Freaky Friday. Good movies that I don't have to worry about my child "catching" wrong words from!
In 1975, I was 11 years old. "Escape To Witch Mountain" played to a packed house at a now-defunct old theatre called, Miracle. People were sitting on the floor because they sold more tickets than they had seats. I'd never seen anything like that before.
My dad and step mom took me to the movie and we got the last of the few remaining seats. They probably only took me because it was a Disney flick. Had to be harmless, right? Hardly. Afterward, they were puzzled by the seemingly surprising UFO angle. I remember being absolutely transfixed. I'm still fascinated with mysterious stuff like UFOs and ghosts. I wasn't supposed to like that stuff but this film made it impossible for me not to.
And I identified with the kid heroes on a deeper level as well. I, myself, was kind of a ragamuffin misfit kid from a broken home who spent weekends with my dad's new blended family. I felt the siblings' pain at being torn from their home. Tia broke my heart. She was as fragile as me, but far stronger when it really counted. Tony was just hot! Older and very cute at 13. And those powers they had? How cool was that? By the time the credits rolled, I knew I'd seen the best movie ever!
I was lucky enough to have an older cousin who loved movies and hanging out with me and she bought the Disney movie record for me. I don't know if any of you remember these; Disney used to release LPs of the audio track of some of their movies, usually truncated and featuring narration. In the case of "Escape", it was narrated by Eddie Albert. This thing enabled me to memorize every line of Tony and Tia's dialog and much of that of the other characters, too. I still have it, though the sleeve is long lost. It's tough for me to watch the movie without speaking along with the characters (especially Tia), at least in my head.
My cousin also bought me Alexander Key's book. Boy, Disney sure took liberties, didn't they? Key's book is far more serious and developed and meaningful. I tried to take the best parts from the book and the movie and incorporate them together into the Tony and Tia of my imagination. It deepened them. Too bad there was no fanatic outlet back in those days! It was pretty egolesss of Alexander Key for coming together with Disney on the eventual novelization of "Return". Without Key's kind participation, it would of been an empty exercise. I was especially impressed with how he incorporated the issue of Tia needing to learn to speak.
Through the years, I never "Escape" and I saw it as often as I could. For instance, when "Return" was released, Disney sent the movies out as a double feature. I loved "Return", silly as it was, even though there were things in it that really bugged me. Like the sibs being split apart for most of the movie. I loved them together! I think most of the fans of the first film were most affected by their chemistry. I think we wanted to see more of that. Even so, I really liked the Earthquakes, all of them. And it was fun to see Kim and Ike a bit older and even cuter than before. I also remember seeing "Escape" on an odd revival double-bill with "Bambi" at some point in my teen years. I think I would've followed Kim and Ike anywhere. Heck, I even followed them to "Devil Dog, The Hound Of Hell". You have to see the comments page here at IMDb if you haven't already.
I would've seen "Tuff Turf" even if Kim wasn't in it, but that's a convoluted story for another thread. Suffice to say I have seen TT far too many times and many of them were for Kim. Also, I can honestly say I enjoy the TV edit of "Star Trek II" far more than the theatrical cut because it has more Ike. I even had a good time watching "Blair Witch Mountain..." when it hit the web. I have to agree that it might be fun to revisit Tony and Tia with the original actors today. Hey, last year, the new "Twilight Zone" brought Anthony (Billy Mumy) back and introduced us to his similarly gifted, but far less scary (real life) daughter (Liliana Mumy). And all those people came back from the cornfield. Why not Tony & Tia?
I could rhapsodize for paragraphs about both "With Mountain" films, and I may still do so when I get my special edition DVDs. In the meantime, here's hoping that a whole new generation of kids will discover "Witch Mountain" for themselves.
In a film that will no doubt engender feelings of nostalgia in those who saw it as children, 'Escape to Witch Mountain' is a reminder that Disney used to be good for fairly decent live-action films instead of churning out cheap teeny-booper soaps and 'comedies' (I use this term in the loosest sense of the word) brimming with brats who have the acting prowess of a plank of wood.
Based on the 1968 novel by Alexander Key, the film centres around orphaned ten-year-old twin brother and sister, Tony and Tia Malone, who possess paranormal abilities. They have scant memories from early childhood of being ship-wrecked and protected by a mysterious uncle, and discover a strange map to Witch Mountain in the 'star case' Tia carries. When a rich and ruthless businessmen Aristotle Bolt plans to harness the twins' powers for his own selfish purposes, Tony and Tia flee to find out what is hidden in Witch Mountain. On their way, they are aided by a prickly but good-hearted old man Jason O'Day and his cat Winkie.
This is an enjoyable, easy-going family film where Ike Eisenmann (who seems to have an affinity with sci-fi roles) and Kim Richards, as the guileless Tony and Tia, give good performances and are able to depict the strong sibling bond between their characters well. While some scenes, in typical Disney fashion, are a tad cheesy and the special effects don't stand up to films made in the Nineties and Noughties, it is still as enjoyable now as it was when I saw it as a child and I imagine it can still thrill today's young children (especially those weary of the tat that passes for children's TV and films these days). 'Escape to Witch Mountain' is an endearing family film, which might not have the best special-effects, but which has a story which will stand the test of time.
This film is nicely complimented by the sequel 'Beyond Witch Mountain', where Eisenmann and Richards reprise their roles as the now adolescent twins who return for holiday only to find themselves pursued by cruel people wanting to use their abilities. What viewers should avoid like the plague is the atrocious 1995 re-make of 'Escape to Witch Mountain' that has an odd and messy plot.
* Tia in the flashbacks was played by Kim Richards' younger sister, Kyle Richards.
* At one point during the fight scene between Tony and Truck, the actor who plays Truck punched the bat so hard, it hit 'Ike Eisenmann (II)' . In some scenes you can see a greenish bruise under his left eye.
* Bruno the Bear was only alert for about ten minutes a day, with which the production crew had to carefully schedule with the children's two-hour work schedule.
* Final film of Reta Shaw.
Return from Witch Mountain (1978) DVDRip Dual Ita-Eng (SiRiUs sHaRe) can be found at: