If you are looking for something on the small screen to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, make the family a batch of green popcorn and follow Darby’s adventures with the leprechauns!
Darby O’Gill and the Little People
Darby O’Gill is laughed at by the townspeople in his small town in Ireland when he tells stories of leprechauns when he visits the local pub. Most dismiss his tales as blarney, but in fact, he and the tiny King Brian, ruler of the little people, are friendly foes, continually out-foxing each other in games as Darby tries to get the leprechaun gold.
Darby needs a bit of magical help from the clever king when Lord Fitzpatrick replaces him as caretaker with the handsome Michael, just arrived from Dublin, played by a VERY young Sean Connery in his pre-007 days. Young Michael falls in love with Darby’s beautiful daughter, Katie, which is all right with Darby; but the lad has competition from a local bully, the son of a devious widow who wants her boy to be the caretaker. King Brian’s magical assistance is necessary to make everything come out all right, but the sneaky leprechaun won’t help Darby without a fight. The real scare comes in the form of the Banshee, and Darby will need to think fast to save his daughter.
Of special note, this film is one of the first examples of forced perspective in a Disney film, as it was used to make Darby seem so much larger than King Brian on screen – remember, this film was made in 1959, way before CGI was even imagined. If you have a budding film-maker at home, there is a very informative 5 minute video on YouTube that details how they achieved the effect and others in the film.
The banshee can be a little scary, but Darby O’Gill and the Little People is indeed a classic treat with an engaging and heartwarming storyline that can be enjoyed by young and old – and that’s no blarney! Available on Amazon Video.