As he ponders how to tell Katie, Darby falls down a well on Fairy Mountain and awakes in the home of the leprechauns. It's not his first encounter with King Brian (Jimmy O'Dea), the little people's leader. Several years earlier, the crafty Brian outfoxed Darby by granting a fourth wish that then negated the first three. This time around, Darby turns the tables. He manages to escape from Fairy Mountain, capture King Brian, and earn three wishes. But what to wish for?
|A little Disney humor: Walt thanks the|
leprechauns in the opening credits.
|Sean Connery as Michael McBride.|
|Janet Munro as Katie.|
|The buildings and mountain in the distance were painted on a matte.|
To "create" the leprechauns, Ellenshaw used forced perspective, a technique in which two objects--which appear to be adjacent to one another--are actually separated by a significant distance. They are carefully aligned so that when filmed, the near object looks much larger than the far object. The trick is making the different sets, color, and lighting match seamlessly. Special effects master Ray Harryhausen used this same technique in his fantasy The Three Worlds of Gulliver. More recently, forced perspective was used to make the hobbits look smaller in Peter Jackson's films.
Benefiting from a couple of charismatic veteran actors and Peter Ellenshaw's movie magic, Darby O'Gill and the Little People makes for a diverting viewing experience for any occasion. That said, it seems like like a perfect pick for St. Paddy's Day, don't you think?