darby o'gill and the little people
the year: 1959
the genre: fantasy
the cast: Albert Sharpe (Darby O'Gill); Janet Munro (Katie O'Gill); Sean Connery (Michael McBride); Jimmy O'Dea (King Brian)
the plot: Darby O'Gill seems to be as full of blarney as any old codger in Ireland, but the stories of leprechauns he tells at the pub are true. In fact, he and the tiny King Brian, ruler of the little people, are friendly adversaries, continually out-foxing each other. Darby needs a bit of magical help from the wily king when Lord Fitzpatrick replaces him as caretaker with the handsome, strapping young Michael from Dublin. Michael falls in love with Darby's beautiful daughter, Katie, which is all right with Darby; but the lad has a rival in a local ruffian, the son of a devious widow who wants her boy to be the caretaker. King Brian's supernatural assistance is necessary to make everything come out all right, but the sneaky leprechaun won't play matchmaker without a fight. Real trouble comes in the form of the Banshee, and Darby will need all his quick wits to save his daughter from the wicked spirit.
don't miss: Sean Connery singing! "My Pretty Irish Girl" sung by Sean Connery and Janet Munro was released as a single about the same time as the debut of the movie. Sean Connery said the singing was the one aspect of the role he wasn't too fond of.
listen for: "Agh! And him a Dublin man!"
did you know: the lighting used to make sure the actors were kept in proper perspective without seeming false used up so much electricity it blew out a substation in Burbank when the lights were turned on without warning.
extra bonus points: if you know why this film was important to Sean Connery's film career.
did you also know: the leprechaun effects look very high tech and complicated, but most of them were achieved very simply by placing the "normal sized" actors closer to the camera than the "tiny" ones, and lining them up on the same horizontal plane through the lens so the distance between them could not be detected.
also listen for: "What ails him?" "Oh nothin' at all, but he retired about five years ago and didn't tell me about it."