A mysterious Irishman, Finian, and his beautiful daughter Sharon, arrive one day in Rainbow Valley, a small Southern town of tobacco sharecroppers in the mythical state of Missitucky. The ... See full summary »
A mysterious Irishman, Finian, and his beautiful daughter Sharon, arrive one day in Rainbow Valley, a small Southern town of tobacco sharecroppers in the mythical state of Missitucky. The town has its own resident dreamer, Woody Mahoney, who thinks that he might be able to put the town on the map by crossing mint with tobacco so that it'll grow already mentholated. Finian's come to the town because he's stolen a leprechaun's crock of gold and plans to plant it in the ground so it'll grow faster (or else why would the Americans have rushed to dig the gold out of California only to plant it back in the ground at Fort Knox?). But trouble arrives in the form of Og the leprechaun, who has followed Finian to America and is bent on retrieving his gold. Meanwhile, the bigoted Senator Billboard Rawkins, in an effort to stop progress in his state in the form of a new dam and hydroelectric system, plans to take the remaining parcel of land needed to stop the project - Woody's, which Finian has ... Written by
The character of Billboard Rawkins, the racist senator, was based/suggested on the real-life Sen. Theodore Bilbo of Mississippi, who died while the show was being written. See more »
In the song "Old Devil Moon" as Woody and Sharon dance through the stream, Woody has clearly got bare feet and his hands are in Sharon's. In the next shot, he has his shoes back on. It even looks like his trousers are dry. See more »
Susan wants to tell you something!
Well, I'm listening!
What's she saying?
She says you've got to wait for Woody! He's bringing the money!
I didn't hear her say anything!
Naturally. She was born silent.
One of the few women ever was.
Sure, Mister! She don't do talk-talk, she does foot-talk!
'Foot-talk?' That's ridiculous! What's she saying now?
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introducing Barbara Hancock as "Susan the Silent" See more »
In the oh-so-great Fred Astaire's last musical movie, he wears no top hat, white tie or tails, but one step and you know he's Fred Astaire. His last proves to be one of his most memorable roles, playing the crafty Irishman in the heartland of the American south, amid the bigoted senators, gospel sharecroppers and
burying a pot of Leprechaun gold. Astaire's Irish accent is remarkably well- handled, and he plays the role much like Gene Wilder's portrayal of Willy
Wonka, or Dick Van Dyke's portrayal of Bert, the Chimney-sweep. The songs do
not work with his voice as well as they should, but it's still a delight to see him dance, especially working with Hermes Pan, his old partner choreographer from his old films of the Golden days. As the top part of the movie, he runs a close race against Petula Clark as his daughter, and Tommy Steele as Og, the
Leprechaun becoming a mortal man. Petula Clark may not look the part, and
may not be as youthful as Sharon should be, but she is a marvelous actress,
and sings the songs beautifully, and why her opening rendition of "Look to the Rainbow" is not included in the soundtrack is still a mystery to me. Steele may appear overbearing at times, but his performance is extremely well done, and
he sings and dances "When I'm Not Near the Girl I Love (I Love the Girl I'm
Near)" with all the charm and grace of a young Gene Kelly. Veteran character
actor Keenan Wynn is also good as the racist senator turned black by a
mistaken wish, and his "mint julep" skit is just priceless. Barbara Hancock is a spectacular dancer, and her mute innocence makes her a marvelous character,
straight out of Truman Capote. Yip Harburg, the genius behind "Over the
Rainbow" and "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime" gives us a marvelous
depression-era score of negro work-songs and black gospel choirs, mixed
surprisingly well with the Irish ballads and drinking songs of Sharon and Finian. It is plain to see that this is Copolla, of "Godfather" fame's first film, because he is plainly trying to find his style. But he directs the anti-racist story very well, which brings us to another point: the story is a remarkably liberal take on the
segregationist southern politics that still existed in the 60s. So watch this movie, and see a legend doing one of his best and most unusual roles yet! And see it for everything else too, if you can. 7/10.
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