December 12, 1977 12:00 PM

The folks at Disney Studios who brought forth Song of the South and Mary Poppins have produced another part animated, part live-action musical. Pete’s Dragon is the story of a 9-year-old orphan who is befriended by a playful green monster. The film stars Helen Reddy, British comic Jim Dale, Mickey Rooney, Red Buttons and Shelley Winters. Sean Marshall, currently in The Fitzpatricks TV series, is Pete, rescued from evil foster parents by Elliott the Dragon. The score by Oscar winners Al Kasha and Joel Hirschhorn is appropriate if not memorable, and the production numbers choreographed by Onna White (Oliver, The Music Man, 1776) are lively. Pete’s Dragon is pleasant Christmas family fare, but why in the world is it two and a quarter hours long? For the sake of little bottoms, at least 30 minutes should—and easily could—have been cut. (G)

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