Thursday, March 12, 2015

Darby O'Gill returns to Kilcullen

While there is no St Patrick's Day Parade in Kilcullen this year, there will be a topical entertainment for children — and their parents — on the afternoon of the national saint's festival, writes Brian Byrne.

A screening of 'Darby O'Gill and the Little People' will take place at 3pm in the Town Hall Theatre, and all are welcome to come along and enjoy a Disney film that became an unexpected stage-Irish classic.

There are big names in the cast, the late Jimmy O'Dea plays Brian, the King of the Leprachauns, chased by retired labourer and local storyteller Darby O'Gill (Albert Sharpe). The lovely Janet Munro and a young Sean Sean Connery are the romantic interest in a production with special effects long before computer-generated imagery.

The film is an adaptation from Irish-American writer Hermione Templeton Kavanagh's 1903 collection of stories 'Darbie O'Gill and the Good People'.

The production received some critical acclaim from American reviewers, with the New York Times describing it as an 'overpoweringly charming concoction of standard Gaelic tall stories, fantasy and romance'. Film historian Leonard Maltin listed it as one of Disney's 'outstanding' lesser-known films.

The movie was made in 1959, and it's understood that its first presentation in Kilcullen Cinema was also on a St Patrick's Day.

On iron-and-cushion seats, with hard benches in the cheap front area ... no Volvo leather then!