1 The Mickey Mindset: Retro Reviews: Darby O'Gill and the Little People

Monday, February 24, 2014

Retro Reviews: Darby O'Gill and the Little People

John Perrucci- 
Darby O'Gill and the Little People is a 1959 Walt Disney Productions feature film directed by Robert Stevenson, with screenplay written by Lawrence Edward Watkin - based on the books of Herminie Templeton Kavanagh. The film's title is a slight modification of one of the two Kavanagh books, Darby O'Gill and the Good People. This title, and her other book; The Ashes of Old Wishes And Other Darby O'Gill Tales were the original source for this movie. The film features a wily Irishman and his battle of wits with leprechauns.

"In the small Irish town of Rathcullen, County Kerry, Darby O'Gill (Albert Sharpe) is the aging caretaker of Lord Fitzpatrick's (Walter Fitzgerald) estate, where he lives in the nearby gatehouse with his lovely, almost grown, daughter Katie (Janet Munro). Darby is past his prime as a laborer, so Lord Fitzpatrick decides to retire him on half-pay and give him and Katie another cottage to live in, rent-free, and give his job to a young Dubliner named Michael McBride (Sean Connery). Darby begs Michael not to tell Katie that he is being replaced, to which Michael reluctantly agrees. That very night, Darby is captured by the leprechauns while chasing Cleopatra, his runaway horse (he is actually led astray by a Pooka), on top of the fairy mountain Knocknasheega. Darby learns that King Brian (Jimmy O'Dea) has brought him into the mountain so that Darby can avoid the shameful admission to Katie about losing his job. Eventually, he is able to escape.

King Brian tries to fetch Darby, yet, is tricked into making him wishes. Once the third wish comes along, Darby decides to use it to ensure Katie's happiness. Which results, after a rocky beginning, growing an affection for Michael. Katie believes Michael is merely seasonal help, as her father could not bring himself to break the news of his retirement (and their imminent move).

The production of this film brought Sean Connery to the attention of producer Albert R. Broccoli, who at the time was casting the first James Bond film, Dr. No. Broccoli hired Connery on the recommendation of his wife, Dana Broccoli. One of the songs in the film, "Pretty Irish Girl", is sung by Michael and Katie (Sean Connery and Janet Munro).

Walt Disney devoted an episode of his show Disneyland to promoting the film, recruiting actors Sharpe and O'Dea to film special segments on the set with Disney, as well as Irish-American actor Pat O'Brien. The episode, "I Captured the King of the Leprechauns", marked the only known television appearance of both Sharpe and O'Dea."( ~ information from Wikipedia, edited)

I thought the story was great. Same with the music. Using a Netflix rating system, I give it 4 our of 5 stars, meaning: I really liked it.

The Mickey Mindset: mickeymindset@gmail.com

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