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.
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 actor and actress who played the roles of Finian and his daughter in the original musical were still alive at the time the movie version was made but died within a year of each other shortly after it came to theatres. See more »
Before Sharon begins to sing her part during the "Old Devil Moon", she is lying down. As she begins to sing, she is sitting up, and then, in the next shot, she is lying down again. See more »
introducing Barbara Hancock as "Susan the Silent" See more »
Filmed in 35mm, Warners decided afterwards to promote it as a "reserved-ticket roadshow attraction" and converted it to 70mm, creating a wider-screen aspect ratio by cropping away the tops and bottoms of the images, and cropping away Fred Astaire's feet during some of his dance scenes. Restored versions show the original aspect ratio. See more »
MORE SILVER AND BRONZE THAN GOLD AT THE END OF THIS "RAINBOW"
The film version of "Finian's Rainbow" was conceived at a time when the public's interest in movie musicals was on the wane; in fact, in light of the poor critical reception accorded "Camelot" the year before, studio head Jack Warner would have been content to pull the plug on what he perceived as another sure-fire disaster. To an extent, his feelings were justified - what had been a daringly provocative look at racial strife in the deep American South as seen through the eyes of a scheming Irishman and his less-than-supportive daughter when it debuted on Broadway in 1947 was no longer very pertinent twenty-one years later, and the fairy tale aspects of the plot - which included the hyperactive antics of a leprechaun intent on retrieving his "borrowed" pot of gold - were going to be a hard sell in 1968. The score, although exquisitely timeless and highly recognizable, was old-fashioned in its theatricality and not likely to result in a best-selling cast album. Furthermore, directing the project was a virtual unknown, a "hippie" from northern California named Francis Ford Coppola, with only one prior film - a non-musical - to his credit. Given the odds the movie was doomed, Warner basically maintained a "hands-off, don't-ask, don't-tell" policy and simply hoped for the best.
The end result may not have been the "best", but it is considerably better than most critics described it upon its release. The overlong book, with several insignificant sub-plots, could have used some judicious trimming. Tommy Steele's performance as Og, the slowly-turning-into-a-human leprechaun, is frantically overblown. The film's editing is criminal in that Fred Astaire's feet are often unseen in his dance routines. And the attempt to blend reality and make-believe results in an awkwardly uneven balance of the two - Coppola would have been far more successful had he decided to emphasize the whimsical and play down the outdated political aspects of the story. But for all these shortcomings, "Finian's Rainbow" - from its spectacular opening credits to its nicely staged farewell to Finian - almost a goodbye to Astaire himself, for whom this would be his last dancing role - is pleasant entertainment, buoyed by its familiar score and anchored by the presence of Petula Clark, whose delightfully fresh and sweetly seductive performance is the true gold to be discovered here. At the time known in the States as the pop singer responsible for the mega-hit "Downtown", Clark drew on her previous experience as an actress in mostly grade-B British films and developed a character whose acceptance of a leprechaun hiding in the backyard well is as easily believed as her skepticism regarding her father's plot to multiply his borrowed gold by burying it in the shadows of Fort Knox and her fiancé's plans to grow mentholated tobacco. The Arlen/Harburg score - including such standards as "How Are Things in Glocca Morra?" and "Look to the Rainbow" - could well have been composed specifically for her voice, which wraps itself around each note with a hint of a brogue and - in the case of "Old Devil Moon" - a raw sensuality suggesting the woman inside the sweet Irish colleen. Deservedly, Clark was nominated for a Best Actress Golden Globe for her portrayal of Sharon McLonergan, and if for nothing else, her performance makes "Finian's Rainbow" definitely worth a look-see.
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