Bil’s rating (out of 5): B.5.
USA, 1948. Twentieth Century Fox. Screenplay by Philip Dunne, based on the novel by Constance Jones, Guy Jones. Cinematography by Joseph LaShelle. Produced by Fred Kohlmar. Music by Cyril J. Mockridge. Production Design by J. Russell Spencer, Lyle R. Wheeler. Costume Design by Bonnie Cashin. Film Editing by J. Watson Webb Jr.. Academy Awards 1948.
Tyrone Power plays an American journalist who, while traveling through Ireland, is drawn to its beauty and charm both by an innkeeper’s daughter (Anne Baxter) and the sniveling interference of a magical leprechaun (Cecil Kellaway). When money and prestige draw him back to the States to take a job as right hand man and speech writer for a ruthless politician (Lee J. Cobb), Power forgets the experience and is fully ensconced in the world of martinis and debutantes including his fiancé Jayne Meadows. His little magical friend shows up disguised as a butler, presumably to return a kindness that Power paid him, while Baxter comes to Manhattan on a family matter and inspires a conflict between the glory of his career and the needs of his heart. Henry Koster tries to recreate the balance of warmth and magic that he did so well in The Bishop’s Wife but with far weaker results: the combination of whimsy and humanity is simply bizarre here, scenes of magical waterfalls (originally tinted green in the original release as if the film wasn’t corny enough) combined with a lot of red-bait preaching against the corruption of political greed. It’s lovely to see Baxter, who has gone down in history for playing vamps and schemers, doing so well with pure, unabashed goodness, but otherwise it’s a fully confusing work that leaves you wondering what you just watched.