Darby O’Gill and the Little People

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Today is the bog holiday where everyone in the world wants to be Irish, or at least help them celebrate. We’ve been doing this all week here at Musings, and today we bring you a Disney classic, Darby O’Gill and the Little People. Darby O’Gill (Albert Sharpe) is an old lazy layabout who loves nothing more that to tell stories about the Little People as he sips on his stout down at the pub in his little town. There is a mountain just outside the town, Knocknasheega, which is said not only to be haunted by bain sidhe, but under the mountain is the home of the leprechauns. Darby is a caretaker for Lord Fitzpatrick, a kind, but firm landowner, who is wanting to hire a younger caretaker, Micheal McBride (Sean Connery), to take Darby’s place, due to the fact that Darby is getting on in years, and should retire. Darby and his fun, spirited daughter, Katie (Janet Munro), live in the gatehouse, and it has been their home for over 20 years. Darby does not want to upset his daughter with the news, and insists that Micheal stay with them at the gatehouse as he has been hired as an “assistant” to Darby. There is also a couple of other who are after Darby’s job, the crass Pony Sugrue (Kieron Moore) and his scheming mother, Sheelah Surgrue (Estelle Winwood), who keeps wanting to match Pony up with Katie.

Back to Darby and how he finds the Little People. Darby has volunteered to go fetch a bell from another parish for his local church, and he needs to take the cart and horse to go after it. Darby’s horse has a notion to often wander up to Knocknasheega to see the leprechauns. Darby chases after her one night and some strange magic makes the horse get riled up, and she pushed him into a well in the castle ruins on the top of the mountain. Darby falls down and wakes up looking at two actual leprechauns. They take him to meet with Brian Connor, their king. King Brian is aware of Darby’s predicament with Lord Fitzpatrick, and Brian offers to let Darby stay with him and the leprechauns to live out his retirement in a place filled with nothing but “music, dancing, and diversion”. They ask Darby to play a song for them, and he chooses a lively piece called “The Fox Chase”. The leprechauns love this song, and it gets them so riled up with fine merry-making that after much energetic dancing, they get on their little horse and go on an impromptu foxhunt. Darby uses this time to get back down to town and to his home to set up a way to trap King Brian which involves drinking Poitin, a wickedly strong spirit made from distilled potatoes. Darby is a wily old codger, and once he gets King Brian to do his bidding, he does not waste time in making his three wishes. He carefully plans them out, but some plans for wishes go awry, as do the plans Micheal has for making Katie his wife, but that’s a subplot in this movie. It all comes together well, and things will get bumpy before they smooth out into a beautiful ending for just about everyone.

Darby O’Gill and the Little People is classic that should be watched any time of the year, and not just on the day when we celebrate by eating corned beef and drinking down Guinness and Bushmills. This is fun movie everyone will love and come back to, no matter what their tastes in movies might be, because it’s just that much fun.

I give this film a Musing review of ★★★★★★