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Darby O'Gill and the Little People (1959)

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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 4,527 users  
Reviews: 51 user | 22 critic

A wily old codger matches wits with the king of the leprechauns and helps play matchmaker for his daughter and the strapping lad who has replaced him as caretaker.

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Title: Darby O'Gill and the Little People (1959)

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Albert Sharpe ...
...
...
Jimmy O'Dea ...
Kieron Moore ...
...
Walter Fitzgerald ...
Denis O'Dea ...
J.G. Devlin ...
...
Farrell Pelly ...
Nora O'Mahoney ...
Molly Malloy (as Nora O'Mahony)
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Storyline

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. Finally, 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. Written by J. Spurlin

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

More than a wee bit of magical shenanigans! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

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Language:

|

Release Date:

23 March 1960 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

The Little People  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Walt Disney visited Ireland in December of 1948 and publicly announced the production of this film, then entitled simply, "The Little People". It would be another decade before the film was actually made. See more »

Goofs

Wires are often visible when the leprechauns are jumping or making things fly about. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Katie O'Gill: Come in, Mrs. Sugrue!
Sheelah Sugrue: Katie, darlin'! Can you lend me the loan of a small pinch o' tea; I'll pay ye back Thursday.
Katie O'Gill: Ye can have it an' welcome.
See more »

Crazy Credits

In the opening credits: My thanks to King Brian of Knocknasheega and his Leprechauns, whose gracious co-operation made this picture possible. - Walt Disney See more »

Connections

Referenced in Inside 'Dr. No' (2000) See more »

Soundtracks

The Wishing Song
Written by Lawrence Edward Watkin & Oliver Wallace
Performed by Albert Sharpe and Jimmy O'Dea (uncredited)
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Those Tricky Little People
19 December 2006 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

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.


8 of 8 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Banshee scene scared me sh**less!! countess_D84
Who is the Banshee?!?! longview
Question for non irish people who watched it lianmc
What would happen in a re-make? hodgepodge2989
Why is 'the last word' important to King Brian? thirdfrog
Does King Brian have to stay in the Death Coach? ayelver

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