Friday, April 29, 2011

David Niven, Helen Hayes & Jodie Foster in Candleshoe (1977)

Obscurity factor: 4

Yesterdays post on Fitzwilly reminded me of this film. David Nivin plays a character similar to Dick Van Dyke's Fitzwilliam. Lady St. Edmund (Hayes) is the owner of an English estate that consists of a beautiful house and grounds, but no money to run it. She gets by with the help of her butler Priory (Niven) and a house full of orphans. They sell the produce the estate produces. Meanwhile, crook Harry Bundage (Leo McKern) believes that a great deal of money is hidden in the estate somewhere and sets out to steal it by enlisting the help of American street urchin Casey (Foster), who poses as Lady St. Edmund's long, lost grandmother. Of course, the rough and tumble Casey has a hard time adjusting to life on a country estate and is down with Harry's plan, until she's won over by the good hearted people of Candleshoe. Will they find the fortune before the estate is lost to back taxes? Will they foil Bundage's attempts to purloin it?

Candleshoe is one of those Disney films that tried to be entertainment for both adults and children. It's moderately successful on both those fronts. There are some tough moments for Casey that smaller children will find uncomfortable to watch and it's touch and go up to the very last moment as to whether the bad guys will win. The performances are nicely crafted and it's fun to see David Niven playing so many different types, even if the circumstances are a bit ginned up.

This film is available on DVD, though it's out of print. Above is a television spot for it, uploaded to YouTube by permvw. Turn up your speakers - the sound is low. The poster above is available from

Obscurity factor: 4 (on DVD, known to Disney-o-philes and Jodie Foster fans)


  1. I saw this first-run in the theatre! My strongest memory of it is from the film's first five minutes, in which juvenile delinquent Jodie breaks federal law by tossing a banana peel in a mailbox.

  2. I too saw this film in the theater! & i loved it. Jodie was my child star heroine!
    & from previous post... I just watched Fitzwilly for the first time over this past xmas break. pure madcap hijinks! haha

  3. Yes, Jody was amazing as a child actress. So many good instincts and such great presence.