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Darby O'Gill and the Little People [1959]

Director:Robert Stevenson
Writer:Lawrence Edward Watkin
Composer:Evelyn Kennedy
Songs:Lawrence Edward Watkin
Oliver Wallace
Length:93 minutes
(1 hour 33 minutes)
MPAA Rating:UR
Sorting Category:Fantasy
IMDB Rating:7.1/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating:100%
Amazon Rating:4.5/5 stars
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Synopsis: A wily old codger matches wits with the king of the leprechauns and helps play matchmaker for his daughter and the strapping lad who has replaced him as caretaker.

Personal Rating: ...

Robert Stevenson => Director
Lawrence Edward Watkin => Writer / Songs
Evelyn Kennedy => Composer
Oliver Wallace => Songs
H.T. Kavanagh => original "Darby O'Gill" stories
Albert Sharpe => Darby O'Gill
Denis O'Dea => Father Murphy
Estelle Winwood => Sheelah Sugrue
Farrell Pelly => Paddy Scanlon
J.G. Devlin => Tom Kerrigan
Jack MacGowran => Phadrig Oge
James O'Hara => Sean (uncredited)
Janet Munro => Katie O'Gill
Jimmy O'Dea => King Brian
Kieron Moore => Pony Sugrue
Nora O'Mahoney => Molly Malloy (as Nora O'Mahony
Sean Connery => Michael McBride
Walter Fitzgerald => Lord Fitzpatrick

Random Trivia For This Title:

  • In the original release, there were numerous asides where the Irish characters would speak in Munster Irsh. Darby counts off "aon, dó, trí, ceathair" before playing the Fox Chase; several times King Brian rallies the hunt with a cry of "Ar aghaidh linn! (ahead with us!)" and so on. A later version had most of these lines redubbed in English.
  • Walt Disney had seen Albert Sharpe in a stage production of Finian's Rainbow in the 1940s, and kept him in mind for the role of Darby. By the time he began casting this film a decade later, Sharpe had retired. Disney was able to convince him to come out of retirement.
  • Jimmy O'Dea and the other actors who played leprechauns were not given any screen credit, nor did Walt Disney allow any other material to be published about them in the marketing for the film. Disney's intention was to give the illusion he was using real leprechauns for the filming. Disney even went so far as to film the [Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color] episode, {I Captured the King of the Leprechauns} (#5.26), in which he and "Darby" (Albert Sharpe) manage to corner King Brian and convince him to participate in the film along with his people.
  • With the death of Kieron Moore (Pony Sugrue) on July 15, 2007, Sean Connery (Michael McBride) is the film's last surviving cast member.
  • The lighting used to make sure the actors were kept in proper perspective without seeming false used up so much electricity it apparently blew out a substation in Burbank when the lights were turned on without warning.
  • The leprechaun effects look very high tech and complicated, but most of them were achieved very simply by placing the "normal sized" actors closer to the camera than the "tiny" ones, and lining them up on the same horizontal plane through the lens so the distance between them could not be detected. This technique is known as "forced perspective."
  • This was the film that brought Sean Connery to the attention of Albert R. Broccoli, who then went on to cast Connery in his most famous role as James Bond in Dr. No.
  • Walt Disney was initially hoping to cast Barry Fitzgerald in the dual roles of Darby O'Gill and King Brian. Fitzgerald reportedly declined due to his advanced age (although his eventual replacement as Darby, Albert Sharpe, was three years his senior). Disney regretted the loss of Fitzgerald in the lead role, and blamed the film's disappointing box-office performance partly on this loss.
  • Michael McBride, the code name that Michael Weston (Jeffrey Donovan) from [Burn Notice] uses with his Irish contacts, is the name of the character that Sean Connery played in this film.
  • The postcard that arrives to the manor is addressed to "Michael MacBride," a Scottish spelling, instead of "McBride," the character's actual last name and typical Irish spelling. While this might be a mistake, it could be a subtle play on the fact that Connery, who plays McBride, is not Irish but Scottish.
  • In Irish legend, the Banshee is often said to be seen combing her hair as she approaches. Although the Chroma Key technique makes it difficult to see, the Banshee that comes to Darby is indeed combing her hair.
  • A version of the song {My Pretty Irish Girl} sung by Sean Connery and Janet Munro was released as a single about the same time as the debut of the movie in 1959. Ironically, Sean Connery said the singing was the one aspect of the role, of which he wasn't too fond.
  • Sharpe did not know how to play the violin, so two professional musicians were hired to create the illusion. One handled the bowing and the other handled the fingerboard while Sharpe kept his hands out of the way.