Friday, March 15, 2013

From the archives: Jimmy Stewart in Pot O' Gold (movie review)

First posted February 2008.  This is one somewhat-Irish-themed movie that didn't make it onto the Hillbilly Housewife's St. Patrick's Day movie list.

Just thought I'd mention this one if you like Jimmy Stewart and don't mind musicals: I'd never heard of Pot O' Gold before we found it on a dollar-store DVD. The plot is a bit silly (one Amazon reviewer pointed out that the solution to the movie's big problem turned out to be exactly the thing they weren't allowed to do in the first place); there's a bit of racial stereotyping (grinning shoeshine boys, dancing jail guards, and Chinese laundrymen) and there's one slightly strange musical number (you can fast-forward through it). But other than that--it's funny! No shooting, no love triangles, the boy-girl stuff is limited to about one nice hug, the ending is totally happy, and the mixups create the sort of plot that even a small Squirreling can get.

Jimmy Stewart's rich uncle owns a health-food factory and hates music. Unfortunately, he has a neighbourhood band practising right outside his window. More unfortunately, when his nephew arrives in town, he gets there in the middle of a confrontation, and ends up accidentally throwing a tomato at Uncle Charlie. The tomato splat makes nephew Jimmy a hero to the band (as well as the lovely lady singer and her very loud Irish mother) and he's dashed off to dinner (and band practice--he plays the harmonica) at their boarding house--without being able to explain who he really is. Predictable crises follow, the funniest of which is Uncle Charlie's sojourn in a jail cell full of music-loving lawbreakers (around the 6-minute mark in the clip below). Or--from our snow-beleaguered point of view--it might be Uncle Charlie's arrival, with the Largest Backpack You've Ever Seen, at a trading post "somewhere up in the wilds of Canada," after being convinced that he's going insane and needs a holiday. You can tell that I think Uncle Charlie is one of the highlights of the movie.

Like I said, you can skip the big Caballero dance routine (I didn't get it and neither did the Squirrelings). But the other swing songs are pretty family-friendly--they're all about things like fairy tales (skip that one though if you don't like genies), banging forks and spoons, blowing bugles in the army, and dancing to Pete the Piper; no "love done me wrong" numbers here. You can even check out some of the lyrics here.

Overall, it's a pretty decent family choice.

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