Darby O'Gill and the Little People is an utterly charming little fantasy that should captivate all sorts of little people, while providing more than sufficient entertainment for their parents. Darby presents a very Hollywood version of Ireland but does so in such a convivial manner that few will complain about its accuracy -- and, wonder of wonders, it's one film that finds beauty in Irish locations that are not always emerald green. Darby is also delightfully straightforward about its fantasy, with no long explanations and sidebars, just a few words here and there to explain the bare bones about leprechauns. The film also boasts a fine cast, from the jaunty, irrepressible Darby of Albert Sharpe to the youthfully handsome Michael of Sean Connery to the mischievous, impish leprechaun king of Jimmy O'Dea. Robert Stevenson directs the proceedings with a smooth hand, deftly mixing the comic and the fantastic, the romantic and the dramatic, and throwing in a frightful banshee sequence to boot. Best of all, Darby has some marvelous special effects, from the aforementioned banshee and its concurrent black coach to the legion of dancing, prancing little people that light up the screen. It's a merry, engaging frolic of a movie.
by Craig Butler review