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 ... See full summary »
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>
The real Anthony Drexel Biddle, Sr. (1874 - 1948), was a banking magnate and died-in-the-wool eccentric whose independent wealth allowed him to pursue such diverse ventures as physical culture (he boxed with Jack Johnson and taught boxing to Gene Tunney), theatricals, and religion. He served as a Colonel in the U.S. Marines in both World Wars. Neither was Cordelia Biddle Duke's marriage to Angier Buchannan Duke to result in the happy ending the movie implies. Although they had two sons, both of whom became prominent in business and diplomatic circles, the marriage ran into trouble, they were divorced within a few years, and Angier Duke died young, not long after that, in a boating accident. See more »
At the bar, when Angie makes the fighter spill his beer, the fighter has foam on his mustache. In the next frame, it's gone. 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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When I was a boy, I'm in my 40s now, my mother would get Disney albums in the mail. They contained music from the soundtracks of movies. Consequently, I was familiar with the songs long before I had seen the films. 'Happiest Millionaire' was one of them, but I have never seen the movie until 2004 when I bought it on DVD, and it was fantastic!
The version on the disc lasts close to 3 hours. It is a 'Roadshow Edition,' and that is entirely enjoyable. It begins with a music overture. In the middle of the film is an intermission, and after the movie is over, there is another musical medley with the word 'Exit' on the screen. That must have been there to remind people to leave the theater!
I see that on IMDb it gets an average rating of 5.5. Maybe that comes from the shorter, lesser cuts of the film. This restored edition is much better than that. My children loved it, too! They were literally glued to the screen for the duration of the movie.
This is easily the most musical of any film I have ever seen. That is one of the reasons the movie is so entertaining. Tommy Steele looks as if he is having a lot of fun, and that feeling is contagious.
'Happiest Millionaire' was released in 1967, the year after Walt Disney died, but he loved this film. The music is by the Sherman brothers, the same duo who gave us the unforgettable tunes in 'Mary Poppins.' I think it is sad that these kinds of films are no longer made. The great family oriented musicals are gone. Can anyone recommend 'Moulin Rouge' or 'Chicago' to their children?
And yet, this is not necessarily a kids' movie. Walt Disney had the genius to understand that things need to appeal to everyone. That was the inspiration behind Disneyland.
Out of four stars, I rate this: ***
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