I purchased the DVD as a stocking-filler for my wife as a little joke - a 'size-ist' one I shamefacedly admit. Judith is 5' nothing and before I get a bad reputation here, let me reassure everyone - gentle jibes about her diminutive stature by my son and I are countered by her assertion that although short, she is "perfectly formed", and we are assured by her that nature compensated by providing her with a massive brain.
Judith is only seven months younger than me and also recalled being scared out of her wits by the banshee. It was the only thing about the film either of us remembered - must've permanently scarred us! Tee hee!
I already knew that it was the movie reputed to have introduced Sean Connery to Cubby Broccoli and the James Bond series. Connery and Janet Munro charmingly supply the love interest; whilst Albert Sharpe as the eponymous Darby O'Gill and Jimmy O'Dea as King Brian of the leprechaun kingdom provide the banter and antics that make this comedy such a pleasure to watch. You won't find any CGI in this little jewel, just some excellent use of 'forced perspective', good models, props, nicely turned-out sets and matte painting. The script by Lawrence Edward Watkin based on the stories by Herminie Templeton Kavanagh is very witty. I believe Ms Kavanagh wrote the stories in two volumes, Darby O'Gill and the Good people and Ashes of Old Wishes and other Darby O'Gill Tales - I must try to dig them out and read them sometime!
The film is directed by Robert Stevenson, a Disney stalwart, with Old Yeller, The Absent Minded Professor, The Love Bug and Bedknobs and Broomsticks to name just a handful of his many films for the company.
Apart from the few bars of a calypso he manages in Dr No, I believe it's the only time I've ever seen Sean Connery sing on screen, although I did know that he was part of the male chorus in the West End production of South Pacific.
Darby O'Gill and the Little People is truly family entertainment, regarded by many as one of the Disney Studios' finest films, and I can't imagine anyone not enjoying it. However, I should mention the appearance of 'The Death Coach' - I probably didn't see this at all when I was five because I still had my eyes shut after the banshee! 'The Death Coach' - flippin' 'eck! Make for the bedcovers!
This is quite simply lovely stuff - enjoy!