Darby O’Gill and the Little People (1959)

Article 1924 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 6-21-2006
Posting Date: 11-18-2006
Directed by Robert Stevenson
Featuring Albert Sharpe, Janet Munro, Sean Connery

On the verge of losing his job to a younger man, an old tale-spinner manages to capture the king of the leprachauns. He decides to keep the king prisoner until he decides how he can best help his daughter with his three wishes.

I’ve never quite warmed to Disney’s live-action fantasies as well as their animated ones. In the animated movies, there’s plenty of energy on display even when there’s not much going on story-wise, but when things slow down in these live-action ones (as happens several times during the first hour of this one), I start to lose interest. Still, the movie remains at least mildly charming throughout; the scene with the dancing leprachauns is quite memorable, Janet Munro and Sean Connery make for a likeble couple, and Albert Sharpe and Jimmy O’Dea are fun. And when the movie takes a darker turn during the last half hour, it becomes quite compelling and scary. This last part is done so well that I feel compelled to overlook a story element that has never quite settled well with me; if the legend about the fourth wish is true, wouldn’t Darby be denied the benefits of his third wish in its entirety rather than just partially?


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