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At-A-Glance Film Reviews

The Happiest Millionaire (1967)



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Once in a while, Disney could come up with a real winner in the live-action family film department, and The Happiest Millionare is one of them. This film is great fun -- swinging memorable musical numbers, a little romance, a lot of laughs, and a delightful little flourishes that touch up various scenes, giving them a satisfying polished look.

You know you're in for a treat when there's not one but two scene-stealers among the cast. Tommy Steele is one; the film opens with him applying for a servant's position at a rich family's estate. His opening number, the gleeful Fortuosity, sets the stage for the lightheartedness and humor that will follow. The second scene-stealer is Gladys Cooper who plays a stern and proper matriach who doesn't stand for nonsense and fooling around. It's a familiar Hollywood stereotype, but in this film, we're on her side, not whomever she's discoursing with. Her subdued, verbal catfight with a manipulative woman at the end is one of the film's finest moments. I should also mention Fred MacMurray, playing the title role, perhaps his best Disney role ever. Even he is a scene-stealer for much of the time.

Joyful, lively, and inspiring, watching this film goes a long way toward putting you in that mood, too.