Darby O’Gill and the Little People

Walt Disney and Sean Connery on the set of Darby O'Gill and the Little People - image copyright Disney
Walt Disney and Sean Connery on the set of Darby O’Gill and the Little People – image copyright Disney

How many of you have seen the 1959 Walt Disney Productions film Darby O’Gill and the Little People? This gem features a young Sean Connery as Michael McBride along with Janet Munro as Katie O’Gill and Albert Sharpe as the title character. If you haven’t seen this classic yet, let me tell you a bit about it.

For those who aren’t aware, I have a slight affinity (read: obsession) with Sean Connery. He is my favorite actor hands down, the celebrity I’d most like to meet, and the lock screen on my phone. He is James Bond to me, and many others. I will revisit that character in a bit. I discovered this film existed, thanks to a Disney cd box set I bought in the mid 1990s. I made it my mission to track it down and eventually got it on dvd when it was re-released a few years back. The cd had Sean Connery singing a lovely ditty from the film called Pretty Irish Girl.

Darby O’Gill is the caretaker in Ireland for Lord Fitzpatrick at the beginning of the film, but is shortly thereafter replaced by Michael McBride. Darby has a habit of spinning tall tales at the pub over several pints of whiskey, so it isn’t surprising when nobody believes him that he is friends with little people and their King Brian. Quite a bit of hilarity ensues throughout the film while O’Gill tries to convince others that he now has three wishes since he’s captured the leprechaun. There are definitely some darker elements to the story as well that younger children under 6 or 7 might find frightening. Without spoiling too much, it is safe to say this is a family friendly film that is filled with comedy, a bit of drama, action, and even romance. Peter Ellenshaw and his crew did an amazing job with the special effects of this film.

While Darby O’Gill and the Little People may not be the best known live action Disney film, it is definitely entertaining. It also helped launch Sean Connery into superstardom. It is because producer Cubby Broccoli’s wife Dana saw Sean Connery in this film that he was even considered for the role of James Bond a few years later. The dvd even includes an extra called Mr. Connery Goes to Hollywood. There are also two other fun bonus features called Little People, Big Effects showing how trick shots were used to imply the size difference, and I Captured The King of the Leprechauns, which was a segment on Walt Disney Presents the Disneyland TV show. If you are looking for a fun way to spend a couple of hours with the family, I highly recommend checking out this underrated classic. Darby O’Gill and the Little People is available through iTunes, Netflix and to rent through Amazon Instant Video.

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Author: Betsy

Scorpio. Passionate about movies, music, sports, Disney and my friends who are more like my family. Fiercely loyal and competitive. My thoughts are my own.

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