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>
In the film, Cordelia Drexel Biddle is from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Angie Duke is from New York City. In real life, Lesley Ann Warren, who played Cordelia, was born in New York City, while John Davidson, who played Angie, was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. See more »
The story is set between September, 1916 and June, 1917. Duke University archives show Angie and Cordie's oldest child, Angier Biddle Duke, was born in November, 1915. The younger Angie was a career diplomat and state department chief of protocol when the movie was made. 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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Originally premiered at 159 minutes, the film was cut to 144 minutes when box office returns were less than expected. Still doing inadequately, the film was further cut to 120 minutes for general release. The longer version was rereleased in 1984. See more »
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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