A happy and unbelievably lucky young Irish immigrant, John Lawless, lands a job as the butler of an unconventional millionaire, Biddle. His daughter, Cordelia Drexel Biddle, tires of the ...
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A happy and unbelievably lucky young Irish immigrant, John Lawless, lands a job as the butler of an unconventional millionaire, Biddle. His daughter, Cordelia Drexel Biddle, tires of the unusual antics of her father--especially since the nice young men around town all fear him. Wouldn't you fear a father-in-law that keeps alligators for pets and teaches boxing at his daily Bible classes? Cordelia decides to run off to boarding school and promptly finds the man of her dreams. Unfortunately, his family doesn't approve of Biddle's outrageous antics, either. A Disney musical punctuated by snappy songs and an energetic debut by Tommy Steele. This is reportedly one of the last live- action films Walt Disney personally oversaw. Written by
Tim Kretschmann <Tim.K@VirComm.com>
A payphone from the movie is now at Disneyland Park's Club 33 and fully functional. Guests can make calls free of charge. See more »
In the opening scene, the camera appears to look East on Walnut Street, past Rittenhouse Square, with the tower of Philadelphia City Hall in the distance. Cars are shown on a drive in the square. No such drive ever existed. City Hall is on Market Street and the tower would have been outside the frame of this shot. See more »
Well now, ain't this an elegant neighborhood, all the residents dressed so fine! One day off the boat am I, with a job that's nearly mine! 'Tis a job with an elegant millionaire, and his elegant family! Today I move from immigrant - to high society!
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Disney's Last Live Action Film is One of His Greatest!
I remember the first time I saw this terrific film. I was nine going on ten and living in Westchester County, New York, at the time. "Happiest Millionaire" was the Christmas attraction at Radio City Music Hall that year  and it was a delight! The performances, particularly those of Tommy Steele, Fred MacMurray, and Leslie Ann Warren are all bursting with effervescence and energy, and the Sherman brothers' songs, if not up to their work on "Mary Poppins," (But, then, what could be?) are consistently pleasant and enjoyable. As the last complete film that Walt Disney was to oversee before his death, it's one of his best latter-day works.
Which is why I find the critical drubbing it's taken over the years, particularly Leonard Maltin's in his book "The Disney Films," so hard to understand. "Happiest Millionaire" is what many family films try to be today, rarely succeeding. I was given a video of it as a present recently and found it just as enjoyable as I did 32 years ago, if not more so. Plus, living in the Philadelphia area as I do today, there's the historical interest, as well.
In short, "Happiest Millionaire" was great in 1967, and even better today. If you can see it, by all means do. You'll be in for a rare treat and a hidden treasure from the Disney vaults!
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