Tuesday, March 10, 2009

3/5/09: Darby O'Gill and the Little People (1959)

A clever and magical little treat from Disney full of fun special effects that bring a world of leprechauns to life. It's all rather quaint by today's CGI standards, but it still brought a smile to my face. Based on H.T. Kavanagh's stories, Darby O'Gill is a love story steeped in ancient folklore and a sprightly Irish brogue. A pre-Bond Sean Connery stars as Michael McBride, the new caretaker at a manor who is replacing Darby O'Gill (Albert Sharpe) and his beautiful daughter Katie (Janet Munro). Michael and Katie fall in love, setting up the basic conflicts of the story. But Jimmy O'Dea steals the show as King Brian, the head leprechaun. There are some delightful songs and the requisite Disney happy ending. The only annoying thing about the film is that Darby spends too much time running after his daughter and yelling, "Katie!" It wore a bit thin.

Speaking of Katie, I had never heard of beautiful Janet Munro; so enchanted was I of her that before the movie was even over, I had ordered a couple more of her movies on DVD via the Internet. How sad to read that she died at age 38, a sufferer of both alcoholism and chronic heart disease. Rating: 5/5.

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