An Irish immigrant and his daughter move into a town in the American South with a magical piece of gold that will change people's lives, including a struggling farmer and African American citizens threatened by a bigoted politician.
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Of Glocca Morra, Ireland, Finian McLongeran, who has his own unique belief system of Irish legends, uproots himself and his adult daughter, Sharon McLonergan, and heads for the mythical land of Rainbow Valley, Missitucky, USA where he believes he will become rich. One of those beliefs is that burying a crock of gold in Rainbow Valley will make it multiply, due to the power of rainbows and the Valley's close proximity to Fort Knox. Finian considers that he "borrowed" the crock of gold he has from the leprechauns of Glocca Morra, which he plans to return once he makes his fortune. Little does he know that in taking the gold, the leprechauns can no longer make wishes come true and are slowly turning mortal. One of those leprechauns, Og, has come to retrieve the crock of gold to save himself and his fellow leprechauns. Finian and Sharon's arrival in Rainbow Valley coincides with the return of the Valley's prodigal son, Woody Mahoney, who has come to repay back taxes before his land is ... Written by
The mail-order company whose catalog is used repeatedly in the movie is named "SHEARS" - the name being clearly visible on the front cover, at many points. However, during the song "That Great Come and Get It Day", the inside of the front cover clearly reads "Only at Sears". 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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