Bearskin or The Man Who Didn't Wash for Seven Years (1983)

“Bearskin” is particularly good film for boys!  It is a folktale in the Brothers Grimm collection, adapted to an American setting after the Civil War.  It is a story about endurance, force of character in adversity, and spiritual transformation through suffering. 

After making a bargain with the devil, a young man has unending riches—but he must not wash himself or cut his hair for seven years, on pain of losing his soul. He must also wear a bear’s skin. At first the young man (Bearskin) lives without care, thinking that his ordeal will be easy. But as the years drag on, his appearance worsens and his life becomes more and more difficult. Just when Bearskin is about to give up, he learns about the importance of compassion and giving. His new-found endurance and generosity enable him to defeat the devil and win the hand of a kind and beautiful young woman.

Starring: Robert Westenburg (Bearskin), Richard Bauer (The Devil), Glen Taylor (Father), Helen Stoltzfus & Kate Weber (Eldest Daughters), Susan Shields (Youngest Daughter), Robert Lesko (Inn Keeper).

+ Read more

Awards

CINE Golden Eagle, American Film Festival, Blue Ribbon

Licensing

For licensing, film rights and permissions, contact Tom Davenport, the distributor Davenport Films, or Folkstreams.

Film Details

  • Film by: Tom Davenport
  • Produced by: Tom and Mimi Davenport
  • Cinematographer: Zach Krieger, Tom Davenport
  • Editor: Tom Davenport and Marcia Neidley
  • Other Credits: Frank Rogers (Makeup), Sarah Toth (Casting, Associate Director), Alan Jabbour (Traditional Fiddle Tunes).
  • Funding: Corporation for Public Broadcasting, The Arthur Vining Davis Foundation
  • Original Format: Film: 16mm
  • ©1983, Tom Davenport
  • 19 mins, Color
  • Categories:
    Folktales (adaptations)