Thursday, March 13, 2014

Irish Nuggets

The Luck of the Irish ( 1948 ) 18k

During a visit to Ireland, an American reporter finds and catches a leprechaun who sticks with him and helps him decide whether to remain or  return to New York to marry his fiancee and achieve success in politics. Tyrone Power, Anne Baxter, Cecil Kellaway, Jayne Meadows. 20th Century Fox. Directed by Henry Koster. 

The Luck of the Irish never achieved classic cult status on St. Patrick's Day like The Quiet Man or Darby O'Gill and yet it should have for it's a delightful film. Cecil Kellaway, adorable in any role he plays, is especially suited to the leprechaun part. The DVD release includes two versions, one entirely in black and white, and another in the original release format of black and white and green tint. 'Tis a pot of gold for sure!


Top O' The Morning ( 1949 ) 14k

A singing insurance investigator comes to Ireland to recover the stolen Blarney Stone and romance the local policeman's daughter. Bing Crosby, Barry Fitzgerald, Ann Blyth, Hume Crownyn. Paramount Pictures. Directed by David Miller. 

Alright, we cheated a bit with including this film among the nuggets for we haven't seen it yet. It just sounds like such a good film we would really doubt if it turns out to be a dud. With such a great cast, how can it fail to be anything but bragha.


The Quiet Man ( 1952 ) 24k

A former boxer comes to Ireland to purchase his mother's cottage and make a new life for himself, but first he must square himself with his wife, who believes him to be a coward for not putting up a fight for her dowry. John Wayne, Maureen O'Hara, Barry Fitzgerald, Victor MacLaglen, Mildred Natwick. Republi Pictures. Directed by John Ford.

This is one of those beautiful films where everything falls into place perfectly...the cast, the script, the music, the cinematography the locations. It just couldn't be any better than it is. It ranks as one of John Ford's greatest films ( if not his best ) and certainly one of the finest pictures to ever come out of Republic Pictures. You'll be spouting Quiet Man-isms forever after viewing this film. "And who taught you to be playing patty fingers in the Holy water?"


Darby O'Gill and the Little People ( 1958 ) 18k

Darby O'Gill, caretaker to Lord Fitzpatrick, is unhappy when he is replaced by a new lad, but gladly decides to matchmake him with his daughter so that he may remain at his cottage. Later he beguiles King O'Brian, the king of the leprechauns to help him save his daughter when the banshee comes knocking on their door. Albert Sharpe, Sean Connery, Janet Munro, Jimmy O'Dea. Walt Disney Productions. Directed by Robert Stevenson.

"Sparkling with Leprechauns and Laughter" is right! Darby is one of those films that has great replay value. You can watch it every St. Patrick's Day and never tire of it. King Brian finally met his match when it came to old Darby. A special shout-out to Peter Ellenshaw for his magnificent matte paintings in this film. They surely do transport us to the beautiful land of the leprechauns. 


The Secret of Boyne Castle ( 1969 ) 14k

A young student and his friend help deliver a secret message to Boyne Castle to aid an American spy and help an Eastern European agent defect. Retitled "Guns in the Heather" for its feature film release. Kurt Russell,  Glenn Corbett, Alfred Burke, Patrick Dawson. Walt Disney Productions. Directed by Robert Butler. 

Most of the television movies made for Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color are tough to find on DVD, and bootleg versions that are available are often very blurry. Alas, that is the case with this film but from what we made out of the picture it sure was entertaining. The movie pairs Kurt Russell with a young Irish boy ( who, quite frankly, we thought was a villain ) and together they play like a Hardy Boys duo. Why Walt Disney never put Kurt Russell in a Hardy Boys series I certainly don't know, but at least this movie got all the great mysteries of one of them - a motorcycle chase, a secluded castle, a glider ride, and a really clever spy ( not like those bungling crooks Disney films always had in the 1990s ). 

1 comment:

  1. "You'll be spouting Quiet Man-isms forever after viewing this film." You made me chuckle with that one. We speak fluent Quiet Man in our family, including my husband who had never seen the film until he became one of us.

    Conversation with my daughter at age 7 seeing "The Quiet Man" for the first time -
    She: "Are they crazy?"
    Me: "No dear, they're Irish."