Darby O'Gill and the Little People (1959) Poster

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Rosabel27 October 2002
I saw this movie on TV as a child, and the scenes of the banshee and the death coach scared and impressed me so much, I carried the memory of them all my life. When I was an adult and saw it on video, I was astonished to find that the scenes are STILL impressive and creepy! Considering how sophisticated special effects have become since 'Darby O'Gill' was made in 1959, that's quite a tribute to the moviemaking skills of the day. The scenery is lovely, the actors skilful and wholeheartedly into their work, the music catchy and delightful, and really there's nothing not to like in this movie. The duels between Darby and his nemesis, King Brian, are wonderfully funny, as each tries to outsmart the other. The village characters are all well-drawn and likeable personalities. Pony Sugrue seems more 'American' than the others, but then, he's not supposed really to fit in in the village, and his punishment at the end is an enjoyable comeuppance. Favourite scenes - the banshee and death coach at the end, as mentioned, and all the leprechauns dancing under the fairy mountain then riding their little white horses out into the night as Darby plays them a wild tune on his fiddle. Don't be put off by the date on this movie; it's as good now as the day it was made.
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One of the greatest Disney films ever made
jeffrey-gilchrist12 September 2004
Like "The Wizard of Oz", this is one of those movies that transcends time itself. It is a true family movie that will never go out of style. One of my favorite scenes in this movie is the approach of the Death Coach, coming to claim his sick daughter. Having no where else to turn, the hysterically-frightened Darby calls for his old friendly nemesis, King Brian. See if you feel the same sense of relief at his appearance as I did!

This movie covers the entire spectrum of emotions. It's sad, funny, scary, happy, you name it. You might want to shield the arrival of the Banshee from the little ones, as I remember how it frightened me at that age, but don't let that sway you from watching this masterpiece.
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Here's to Darby O'Gill
someguy88910 June 2004
I do not know how much I would like this movie if I saw it today for the first time. But, since I grew up on this movie, I have no choice but to absolutely love it. We had this videocassette in our closet for years, it didn't have a cover on it, but it didn't need one. Wow, how I grew up on those colorful special effects. Those leprechauns riding small white horses around an old Irish man playing the fiddle. The horse turning silvery when enchanted by the leprechauns. The Banshee. Oh, that Banshee. You've never seen a scarier Banshee on film and you never will. A fantastic movie. A young Sean Connery is in it, and that old woman with that scary voice is fantastic. And Darby O'Gill...ahh.. one of the best family films and fantasy movies out there. ANd don't forget the scary, black creativity of the Death Cab.

Here's to Darby O'Gill. Clink

My grade: 9/10
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One of Disneys Best
Michaelnlori17 March 2003
I first saw this film when I was 6 years old (I'm 49 now) and it stayed with me since then. The special effects are so good that I REALLY believed that the "little people" existed.(I also love Walt Disneys acknowledgement in the credits, thanking the "wee folk" for their cooperation in making the film). I still watch the film (usually around St.Patricks day) and after 43 years it still delights me. The story is short sweet and to the point, the acting wonderful, especially Albert Sharpe, Janet Munro and a very young Sean Connery(who sings very nicely), and Robert Stevensons' direction is right on the money. The later scenes, with the death carriage and the banshees scared me silly as a child and are still quite creepy. This is a film that holds up extraordinarily well and is terrific for family viewing. I have a copy on laser disc but look foward to its eventual release on DVD.
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Those Tricky Little People
bkoganbing19 December 2006
As a lad I well remember the kind of campaigns Walt Disney used to publicize his films. He used all the available outlets he had such as his Mickey Mouse Club show or the Walt Disney Wonderful World of Color television shows. If Walt Disney could have worked it out, he'd have plugged Darby O'Gill and the Little People on Zorro.

I remember Disney on one of his shows having a formal meeting with King Brian of Knocknasheega to sign over screen rights to the story of the leprechauns. It was all done with a kind of serious pomp that would impress a kid with Disney and Jimmy O'Dea who played the leprechaun king, Brian Conners.

According to the Films of Walt Disney by Leonard Maltin, Disney had it in mind to do an Irish story for over 15 years before Darby O'Gill was released. In fact when he saw the original Broadway production of Finian's Rainbow, he had his leading man in mind in the person of Albert Sharpe.

Sharpe's Darby O'Gill is a gamekeeper on the grounds of Lord Fitzpatrick who in his declining years spends more time at the local pub, regaling the patrons with his tales of encounters with the leprechauns. As Walter Fitzgerald who plays Lord Fitzpatrick says, Darby retired a couple of years ago without telling me. So he's hired himself a young new gamekeeper, an outsider from Dublin named Michael McBride played by a pre-James Bond Sean Connery.

Connery's a decent chap though and he'll give Sharpe time enough to vacate the gamekeeper's gate cottage. Besides Connery's taken a liking to Darby's daughter Katie in the person of winsome Janet Munro.

The film alternates and then blends the story of Connery's courtship of Munro with the person of her other suitor, the town bully played by Kieron Moore and Sharpe's adventures with the leprechauns. King Brian tricks him a couple of times, but Darby captures him by getting him drunk and keeping him out until daylight when he has no powers.

If Darby O'Gill had been made by someone other than Disney probably Barry Fitzgerald would have played Darby. Sharpe certainly has the elfin charm of Fitzgerald's Michaeleen O'Flynn from The Quiet Man. And because he was not a movie name, he worked a lot cheaper for Disney, always a consideration in The Magic Kingdom.

The special effects are really good here considering this was the age before computer generated graphics. Enough to give even a twelve year old a fright with the appearance of the banshee and the costa bower, the death coach.

The answer to a movie trivia question is this film if it is ever asked whether Sean Connery sang in a movie. It's in fact him singing, My Little Irish Girl, both he and Janet Munro sing it alone and duet it for the finale. No dubbing, in fact Sean Connery cut a 45 rpm record of it back in the day. Probably worth a fortune if you could find one.

Janet Munro did a few films for Disney. She was a wholesome lass in his films, very appealing and her death at too young and age was a real tragedy. Either Disney didn't spot anything in Sean Connery or Connery was too smart to be tied down to a long term contract to that studio. Connery after Dr. No premiered spent the next dozen years or so trying to prove both artistically and financially that he was capable of more than James Bond.

But it sure would be fascinating to speculate on what turn Sean Connery's career would have taken if I had starred in a half a dozen or so Disney features. Can you imagine him trying to escape that kind of typecasting?

Darby O'Gill and the Little People is a children's film and I think it still has charm a-plenty even for today's generation who might be skeptical about leprechauns.
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Make a wish
Spirit_of_731 January 2005
This is a truly enchanting film for all ages. It takes the viewer to the small Irish village of Rushcullen in County Kerry where not much happens except to one person, Darby O'Gill.

Darby is a lovable old caretaker for the local Lord of the Manor whom the Lord jokes retired years ago but never told anyone. Darby's wanderings up to the ruins above the village have led him into contact with the 'little people' ruled by the likable but cunning King Brian.

The battle of wits between Darby and King Brian are the central theme running through the film but the subplots surrounding Darby's beautiful daughter Katie (played by the English actress Janet Munro who tragically died at only 38) and the competition between her suitor's, Sean Connery and Kieron Moore keep the older viewers interest. Add to this a bit of drama surrounding a death carriage and a scary banshee and you have a film which works on even more levels.

This is something of a forgotten gem of the family film genre. With tales of leprechaun's and banshee's all told through the wonderful west coast brogue, it doesn't fail to captivate.

It's somewhat idealised version of Irish life in the 1920's is also a delight. Okay, not all Irish people lived in thatched cottages, tipped their caps to the local priest or went to the pub to catch up on the craig, but a lot did.

As family films go this is right up there with Mary Poppins and The Lion King, 10 out of 10.
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A Pleasant, Feel-Good Film With A Touch Of The Old Blarney
ccthemovieman-13 August 2008
Boy, this is about as Irish as it gets: accents, terminology that is foreign to most other people but fun to hear, leprechauns, pots of gold, three wishes (no more), other magic, Irish jigs and a few songs, lush countryside with plenty of green.....and a lot of good-natured blarney. It's old-fashioned, innocent fun, with a love story thrown in the mix.

The latter involves a very young-looking Sean Connery. It's a shock to see him when he was in his late '20s, and even more of a shock to hear him sing, too! Three years later, Connery hit the jackpot (acting, not singing) playing James Bond in "Dr. No," and the rest is history.

In this Walt Disney film, he plays "Michael McBride" who winds up falling for "Katie O'Gill." The latter is played by Janet Munro, a pretty woman who had the opposite screen success of Connery. After staring in a few of these Disney movies in which she played wholesome girls, she did an about-face and played unhappy and edgy characters and that, it turned out, was a poor choice. Alocholism then led to the tragic misfortune of contracting a fatal illness which killed her at the age of 38.

The lead character, "Darby O'Gill," is played very convincingly by Albert Sharpe. He was definitely the "character" of the story.

This movie is a nice, feel-good film filled with a laughing horse, the good guys winning over the bad, a few dramatic moments, singing and dancing "little people," and an assortment of Irish delights. I think kids would still like this film, even though it's dated with the special-effects, but that's to be expected. After all, the film is almost 50 years old. It has a pleasant feel to it and should still entertain folks today.
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Unanimously a favourite
bigdinosaur8 July 2005
Upon reading comments of earlier reviewers of this title, I find myself in an unusual situation...I totally agree with them all! This is a wonderful movie. And excellent for all ages (except maybe for very small children due to the banshee scenes).

I'm very impressed with the effects considering when this was made. Almost flawless! And the story is so delightful and engaging, I can't imagine anyone not getting a lift from this hour-and-a-half of leprechaun fantasy.

Sean Connery is a little weak on the singing, but it certainly doesn't detract from the movie.

I've had this movie on VHS since way back, but recently I upgraded to a DVD. There are some interesting supplemental items on the DVD: Including a 'making-of' that explain the effects; And there is a "Wonderful World of Disney" excerpt with Darby O'Gill, King Brian, & Walt Disney that's cute.

I was surprised how much my teenage boys liked this movie. Usually they are too 'cool' to watch 'kids' movies (as they call them). And they were stodgy at first, but soon they were totally enrapt.

This is one of the best family movies I've seen. Get this one and hold onto it because they just don't make em like this anymore.
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It's just lovely.
hitchcockthelegend9 November 2008
Darby O'Gill is well known for his fantastical stories, he is also known as the man who is constantly seeking the pot of gold he believes exists. When one day Darby tells all in the Inn that he has found the pot of gold, nobody of course pays him much heed, they are further aghast when Darby tells of a Leprechaun King called Brian, and how he tricked Darby out of his three wishes.

Fantastical romp that is cloaked by Irish mystical folklore, what's not to like really? It's a delightful tale told with intuitive pacing and containing wonderful special effects. Once Darby (Albert Sharp) enters the magical world of the leprechaun's, we are witness to gorgeous colour and jaunty shenanigans as director Robert Stevenson and his team unleash the tricks of the trade. Based on the Darby O'Gill stories written by H.T. Kavanagh, this production was something that Walt Disney had wanted to make for many many years, even visiting Ireland in 1948 to research for the project. Disney's wait was worth it for it oozes Disneys renowned production values and delivers entertainment for children and adults alike.

Joining the splendid Sharpe in the cast is the excellent Jimmy O'Dea as King Brian, Janet Munro as Katie, and a youthful Sean Connery as Michael McBride, all of which are in on the fun and all lighting up the tale with consummate ease. I defy anyone to not be tapping their feet for most of this picture! So go grab all the family and park yourselves in front of the TV and let the magic wash over you: for it will, to be sure to be sure. 8/10
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Generally shies away from treacle...and Albert Sharpe is wonderful
moonspinner5525 July 2004
Until "Mary Poppins" came along, I don't think Hollywood took Walt Disney seriously as a live-action movie producer. James Baskett received a special Oscar for "Song of the South", as did Hayley Mills in 1960 for "Pollyanna". However a great many performances in Walt's early output deserved a more substantial recognition, such as James Robertson Justice in "The Sword and the Rose" and Albert Sharpe in this film. Playing storytelling Irish codger Darby O'Gill, Sharpe is charming spinning tall tales in a quaint village, capturing himself a real live leprechaun and being rewarded with three wishes before the little King is freed. Colorful outing for older children and nostalgic adults, relying less on sugary sentiment and doting tots than on old-fashioned whimsy. Sean Connery has a nice romance with Janet Munro (who is always a pleasure) and the special effects, particularly near the end, are quite marvelous. **1/2 from ****
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Who Needs CGI?
sharkey1973 April 2009
Certainly not Mr. Disney. I loved this film as a child and today saw it for the first time in maybe 25 years. I was astonished at how good the special effects were. The Little People were totally believable! The DVD had a wonderful making of which explained the forced perspective technique and showed exactly how it was done. It also finally cleared up any confusion on how matte painting is used and from a technical viewpoint, this film is remarkable. Disney always went the extra mile. That's why he was such a master of film making. I was also delighted with the accents and the use of real Gaelic terms and Irish expressions and could only wonder if they had confused me as a child until I read that this movie had had two soundtracks and one had been dubbed on after the accents were deemed too difficult for American audiences. Fortunately, the original is on the DVD. With captioning, it's not hard to follow at all. And how Disney, to have a rider where he "thanks" the leprechauns for helping him make this picture! Of course, the looked so real, you could actually believe it.
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A Beautiful and Witty Little Movie
v_haritha_in11 August 2014
I will begin by saying that I do not know anything about Irish lore and hence cannot tell how accurate this movie is in its portrayal. What I can tell is, it is a charming piece of work. Darby O'Gill (Albert Sharpe)is an old caretaker in a small village. Though he is too old to do his job effectively, he is well beloved by the village folk, to whom he tells stories of his encounters with the King of leprechauns(Jimmy O'Dea).

Darby and King Brian are friendly yet are constantly trying to out-fox each other. Their bromance is the best part of the movie. There is another story running in parallel: the romance between Darby's daughter, Katie (Janet Munro) and the new caretaker, Michael McBride (a then unknown Sean Connery). Katie has one of the sweetest smiles in movie history and we discover Sean Connery's singing voice. Estelle Winwood plays a devious widow and Kieron Moore plays her son, a local ruffian and Connery's rival in love. They are both extremely entertaining.

The sets and the locations are beautiful and full of old-fashioned charm. The effects are pretty good and most of them hold up even by today's standards. The banshee and the death coach are really scary. This is an under-appreciated Disney gem.
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Much more than magic
world_adventure315 March 2005
I saw this movie as a small child. My parents taped it for me one evening. Since then and for almost twenty years, I watch every year around St. Patrick's Day. I have been waiting for Disney to re-release the movie so I could purchase it on DVD. It was not available ANYWHERE for the longest time...

This is a movie about an old Irish man named Darby O'Gill and how he spends the last years of his life telling stories in the local pub about the little people. Only a fool would not believe him. Darby lives with his daughter Katie. Darby discovers that Michael MacBride (played by a VERY young Sean Connery) will replace Darby in his position of looking after the the Lord Fitzpatrick's land. King Brian, king of the leprechauns, and Darby out wit each other constantly throughout the film. For if you catch a leprechaun, you get three wishes..."3 wishes I grant you, 3 wishes are small, but if you wish a 4th one you lose them all!" This is a timeless piece you will enjoy.
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Incredible movie!
Slaphammer19 July 2001
I remember seeing this movie when I was very young (I'm 28 as of this writing, so this movie was already fairly old when I came into the world) and really liking it. The terror induced by the Banshee stuck with me for most of my life. I recently saw this again for the first time in almost 2 decades, and it's still an amazing movie.

I'm happy to report that the Banshee doesn't quite give me the willies like it used to, but it's still scary -- you'll never see anything like this in a "family movie" today. The scene where Darby opens the door and the Banshee is there waiting for him is really frightening. The Death Coach is also really creepy.

Anyway, leaving the scary moments behind, this movie has a fascinating representation of Leprechauns. The special effects are amazing too -- I find myself completely convinced that there are little people standing amongst tall people, like when Darby is playing the violin while leprechauns dance all around him, or when Darby and King Brian are playing their drinking game, or when King Brian climbs onto the headboard of the bed to influence Katie's dreams. It's absolutely seamless in most places, which is more than you can say for most of today's computer-generated wizardry.

Although I get the impression this is one of the lesser known Disney titles, it ranks as one of my favorites. A lot of Disney movies that I loved as a child have lost some of their charm as I've aged, but Darby O'Gill and the Little People is still a magical film.
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An absolute delight for the eyes and ears for all!
Mr Skoooooter31 May 2001
You'll love this film, even if you're not Irish, because the tunes are so catchy, Sean Connery (and the others) are a delight, and the whole story is just plain fun! The Banshee and the Death Coach still scare me, but then, the way King brian helps Darby out at the end of the film makes the scary segments worthwhile. It really is an excellent film, so typical of "Old" Disney.
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It has something for everyone, from love to Leprechauns!
E.Bola14 January 1999
I first remember seeing this film when I was about 5 years old, and although I've seen it countless times since, its magic and appeal has remained.

The story revolves around the lives of Darby O'Gill, the aging groundsman of Lord Fitzpatricks summer house, his daughter Katy and Michael McBride, the young replacement for Darby's job.

As well as this, on the supernatural front, there is also Darby's friendship with the wily King Brian of Knocknasheega, king of the Leprechauns (the little people), who live in the mountain near the village. There is also, on a more sinister note ,the banshee and the death coach, as well as the more earthly villain, Pony Sugrue, the local bully.

This is a lovely little story full of lilting music,Irish folk tales, humour, (mild) horror, a love story and some of the best special effects I've seen in a movie. Given that this movie was made 40 years ago, the special effects used for the little people- giant sets and trick photography, are GREAT!

There is very little, in fact that this movie does not contain. It is a delight for all the family and will continue to delight for years to come.
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The Big People and The Little People
strong-122-47888531 March 2018
Ah, yes! - The luck of the Irish, their curios superstitions, their wee, magical leprechauns, and (get this!) a Scottish Sean Connery being passed off as an Irishman (all rolled up into one movie).

Though this 1959 Fantasy/Romance/Comedy film from Disney Studios was far from being top-notch entertainment - It was certainly notable for starring a young and very virile-looking Sean Connery (3 years before he first starred as James Bond in 1962's "Dr. No").

Anyway - Besides Connery's appearance in this decidedly quirky picture - I also thought that the "little people" pre-CG effects were actually quite impressive, considering that this film is now 60 years old.

All-in-all - I'd say that "Darby O'Gill" (and all of its merry, Irish shenanigans) was definitely well-worth a view, in the long run.
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An understated title from a golden age of Walt Disney
ThatsMrBoydToYou28 March 2010
I haven't seen this movie in nearly 15 years, and I remembered only the terrifying banshee scaring the hell out of me as a child. So now that I'm 25, I felt like I could overcome my childhood fears and finally give it another go.

Watching it now, I realise that this is purely Walt Disney at his best. The special effects wowed me beyond anything I've seen in the last few years (and this came out in 1959). These guys were geniuses. Nowadays when you see effects, you can tell almost immediately they're computer graphics. But with Darby O'Gill, and anything predating the mid 80s, you had to guess how they did these effects. They look brilliant and there's NO computers whatsoever.

The story is quite good as are the actors, including Sean Connery in his first movie role ever.

"Darby O'Gill" is now among my favourite films of all time due to those two things above and the joy that I had watching it all these years later.
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I'm feeling lucky with this film!!!!!
sethn17231 July 2006
Disney's second 1959 movie (one of three), "Darby O'Gill and the Little People," takes place in Ireland, and has many stars, including a very young and brown-haired Sean Connery (before he was 007; before he hated Alex Trebek!!!!! LOL).

What I like about this film: 3 reasons:

1. It's lucky. In a film that takes place in Ireland, what else could you possibly expect?

2. It's Disney. Their films were always great at the time.

3. It's fantastic!!!!!

So find yourself a four-leaf clover and feel lucky all over with "Darby O'Gill and the Little People!" Should the DVD go out of print soon, and most stores don't have it, then finding it is like finding a four-leaf clover!!!!! LOL

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Magical Irish fun with leprechauns and an endearing yarn spinner
roghache29 May 2006
I saw this movie several decades ago when I was a child myself, but for me to have remembered it so fondly all these years, it must have been a great movie. My parents watched it with me and also thoroughly enjoyed this tale with its lovely little romance, so it's not merely a story for kids. It paints an enchanting picture of village life on the Emerald Isle back in the 1920's, complete with both fairy folk and very endearing human characters, all of course speaking with magnificent Irish brogues.

The Irish Darby O'Gill lives in County Kerry where he serves as caretaker for Lord Fitzpatrick, the lord of the manor. At the village pub he frequently weaves his tall tales of leprechauns and banshees, and the disbelieving villagers humour him by listening. However, one day Darby does indeed capture the king of the little folk and discovers the legendary pot of gold. Of course none of his fellow villagers take his claims seriously. The battle of wills that ensues between Darby and the lovable but crafty leprechaun King Brian is the heart of the story, as each tries to outsmart the other. Meanwhile, Darby also has a beautiful daughter, Katie O'Gill, who has two suitors vying for her affections, Michael McGill and Pony Sugrue. Michael is himself the new replacement for the aging Darby's caretaker job.

There are some creepy scenes of the banshee and the death carriage with its headless driver, but overall this movie is just plain magical fun. All the idealized features of Irish village life back then are present here...the thatched cottages, village priest, and local pub. The movie has wonderful special effects for its era, totally convincing me that there are indeed leprechauns! It also boasts lovely green Irish scenery and lively fiddle tunes.

While I don't specifically remember the actors, the two main likable but dueling characters, Darby and King Brian, are both very convincingly portrayed. I was surprised to note here that a young Sean Connery plays Katie's suitor, Michael McGill, and even sings in this picture. This actor is one of my favourites and simply grows more appealing with age, but I'd love to watch him again back in this early role before James Bond.

This movie is surely one of Disney's best and would make great St. Patrick's Day entertainment. It's pure whimsical fun, indeed right up there with Mary Poppins, and alas, such as they don't make any more. There's no movie I'd recommend more than this Irish fantasy for charming and highly entertaining family viewing. I smile myself just thinking about this tale that captured so magically for me all that Irish folklore back during my own childhood.
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One of My Favorites
tails-1321 February 2006
I watched this movie every St. Patrick's Day when I was a kid. Even now I still love this movie. The plot has always fascinated me. It is about an elderly man obsessed with capturing a leprechaun. This is a very good film for the whole family. It was even better for me when got a little older and started watching The Hunt for Red October and the early James Bond films knowing that Sean Connery was in one of my favorite Disney movies. This movie is definitely worth paying a few bucks to see this movie with your kids. It is a continuous tradition. Your children will be able to show this to their children and talk about how they had so much fun watching it with their parents. It is a movie from when Disney was good.
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Wonderful film
grahamsj34 January 2005
This is a film that my Mom took me to see way back in 1959 and I recall it still. It is a greatly entertaining film dealing with leprechauns. Obviously it's set in Ireland. Look for a very young Sean Connery in this. This was several years before James Bond. The film stars Albert Sharp and Janet Munro also. There is music, magic, leprechauns and all sorts of legends involved. There are really decent special effects, especially considering this was before computer generated characters and backgrounds. All the work had to be done by hand back in the old days! I just recall the film seeming very exciting, magical and overall a lot of fun for a 12-year old boy. This was adventure at it's finest (unless you could catch an Errol Flynn flick!) and was memorable.
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Evokes the Irish spirit in my blood
SinjinSB14 March 2003
Disney brought us this very fun Irish tale that I've been watching my whole life. Darby (Albert Sharp) is an aging caretaker who tells many tales of the little people. Michael McBride (Sean Connery) is his replacement who falls for Darby's daughter Katie (Janet Munro). Most people of the town don't quite believe Darby's tales he tells in the pub, though many humor him out of respect. And when he catches King Brian (Jimmy O'Dea), the head leprechaun, no one believes him. I really enjoy everything about this movie. It has some nice songs, including a bit by Sean Connery. As fun as it is, it does have a couple dark parts that could be scary for young children. Though I was able to appreciate it them, even as a wee lad me self. Though this is an American film, it definitely evokes the Irish spirit in my blood.
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A pleasant surprise
rj-2713 February 2001
You have to check this one out if only to see Sean Connery pre-James Bond. And he sings(not badly), too! Special effects are quite good considering this is a 1959 film and the spooky elements are also very effective. For a movie you probably never heard of, this is going to be better entertainment than 90% of the disposable trash that's put out today.
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Mark-53318 July 2000
Although Sean Connery's accent wavers a little at times, I feel this is an excellent film for the younger viewer. For it's day the mixing of formats was very good. The sooner it is launched on DVD the better. i know that I will buy it upon it's release - and many of you should too.
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