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When the gentle woodcarver Geppetto (Christian Rub) builds a marionette to be his substitute son, a benevolent fairy brings the toy to life. The puppet, named Pinocchio (Dick Jones), is not yet a human boy. He must earn the right to be real by proving that he is brave, truthful, and unselfish. But, even with the help of Jiminy (Cliff Edwards), a cricket who the fairy assigns to be Pinocchio's conscience, the marionette goes astray. He joins a puppet show instead of going to school, he lies instead of telling the truth, and he travels to Pleasure Island instead of going straight home. Yet, when Pinocchio discovers that a whale has swallowed Geppetto, the puppet single-mindedly journeys into the ocean and selflessly risks his life to save his father, thereby displaying that he deserves to be a real boy. Based on a series of stories by 19th century Italian author Carlo Collodi, Pinocchio came under fire for being a sugarcoated version of its original tale, but the film's moral did have a strong educational effect on children. Soon enough, a 16 mm excerpt from the picture, titled "Pinocchio: A Lesson in Honesty," was released for teachers to use in schools.

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