The Gnome-Mobile (1967)

Genres - Drama, Fantasy  |   Sub-Genres - Children's Fantasy  |   Release Date - Jul 19, 1967 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 90 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - G
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Review by Craig Butler

The folks at Disney probably spent a pretty decent penny (in 1967 dollars) on The Gnome-Mobile, one of the studio's forays into live-action fantasy, and it shows in the special effects. The miniaturization effects are believable (and come off well, even in comparison with current advanced standards), which is of primary importance in this sort of film. Still, one wishes that more time had been spent on the screenplay itself, especially in terms of character development. As it is, the characters are pretty much a matter of "what you see is what you get," and while that may not bother the little ones (children, not gnomes), it does make the movie a bit dull for adults. The script is also a bit unfocused and contains numerous "cutesy" segments (such as the lengthy car chase or the rescue of Mulrooney) that are typical of Disney in that period, but can be a bit annoying. Fortunately, the cast is quite good, with Walter Brennan appropriately avuncular, Karen Dotrice professional without being slick, and Matthew Garber given more to do than in most of his roles. The title song is catchy -- perhaps too much so -- and the car itself really is a dream. A modest and enjoyable effort, Gnome-Mobile is not one of those children's films that bears repeated viewing.