Darby O'Gill is a wily old codger, but even with all his experience he canno' match wits with the king of the leprechauns, King O'Brien himself. On a spooky moonlit night in Ireland, Darby falls down a well on Fairy Mountain and comes face to face with the king and his band of little people. Darby manages to capture O'Brien and then demands of him his rightful three wishes....one naturally being the proverbial pot o'gold. But the King has learned more than a few tricks over the course of five thousand years and Darby finds that he has to keep a bridle on his tongue in order to hold onto his wishes.
Darby O'Gill and the Little People is one of the best live-action films that the Walt Disney Studios released during the 1950s, featuring an amusing script full of Irish wit, engaging actors, a heap o'magical effects and legions of little people.
Walt Disney had his hand in all of the films his studio released, but he felt a special attachment to this project. Disney read the Darby O'Gill stories in the mid-1940s and decided at that time to create a film based on them. He saw Albert Sharpe performing on stage in "Finian's Rainbow" and knew then and there that he was the man to portray Darby.
"Oh, she is my dear, my darlin' one, her eyes so sparklin', full of fun....no other, no other, can match the likes of her!"
Janet Munro, as Darby O'Gill's daughter Katie, was such a winsome delight that Disney signed her to a contract and she went on to make The Third Man on the Mountain and Swiss Family Robinson for the studio. And, your eyes be not deceiving you, there indeed be a young Sean Connery who portrays Michael McBride, the strapping lad who is replacing Darby as the new caretaker of Lord Fitzpatrick's manor.
"It's the Coiste-bodhar! The death coach!"
Alas, upon its release Darby O'Gill and the Little People was not the big box-office attraction that Disney hoped it would be and that disappointed him sorely. However, over the years it has been recognized for being the grand film that it is and has grown a large following of fans. Watching this beloved classic is now a St. Patrick's Day tradition in many a home.