Even after having lived the hardscrabble life of a missionary's daughter all her life and seen the loss of both parents, young Pollyanna Whittier refuses to be depressed. Instead, she must be glad about anything she can think of, and it's paid off big time.
Now, however, she must go to live with her cold, spinsterish aunt in a town inhibited by embittered, unfriendly souls. Can she use her glad game to win over everyone and transform the town?
Hayley Mills ... Pollyanna Whittier
Jane Wyman ... Aunt Polly Harrington
Richard Egan ... Dr. Edmond Chilton
Karl Malden ... Reverend Ford
Nancy Olson ... Nancy Furman
Adolphe Menjou ... Mr. Pendergast
Donald Crisp ... Mayor Karl Warren
Agnes Moorehead ... Mrs. Snow
Kevin Corcoran ... Jimmy Bean
James Drury ... George Dodds
Reta Shaw ... Mrs. Tillie Lagerlof
Leora Dana ... Mrs. Ford
Anne Seymour ... Mrs. Amelia Tarbell
Edward Platt ... Ben Tarbell
Mary Grace Canfield ... Angelica
Director: David Swift
Codecs: XVid / MP3
I wish that this movie could sink-in to some of the more cynical minds that walk the earth today. It is a great story that is full of meaning and nostalgia (which I love).
Now before you sit down to watch this film, remember that the book, "Pollyanna,' was a smash hit in the early 1900s. Several books followed the original along with board games and other children's merchandise. It is also important to note that the Pollyanna character was much more "glad" (more on that later) and overly talkative in the book than in Disney's rendition.
But Disney's telling of the story, choice in casting, and authentic 1900s period recreation could not be any better. The film is set in the picturesque town of Harrington where all politics and decision-making are controlled by the wealthiest resident, Polly Harrington (Pollyanna's adopted aunt). Until being adopted, the little girl Pollyanna did not live a silver-spoon lifestyle. We soon find out that she was very poor while living with her missionary parents before they died. This somewhat explained why she is overwhelmingly upbeat and "glad.' She plays "The Glad Game" with her new friends and neighbors and gradually wins over the entire town with her optimism and love. What was so moving about this story is how this little girl made grownups realize that they should be happy to be healthy and alive.
Director David Swift went through hundreds of girls to find the right Pollyanna. And thanks to Uncle Walt (Disney), he found a Special Academy Award winner in Hayley Mills. Other notable characters that I loved were Jane Wyman as the prim and proper Aunt Polly, Karl Malden as the fire and brimstone Minister, Adolphe Menjou as the town hermit Mr. Pendergast, Reta Shaw as the cake-baking Mrs. Lagerlof and Agnes Moorehead as the hypochondriacal Mrs. Snow. All of these characters had great moments of dialogue which made the story seem so real.
The one thing I love about Walt-era Disney films is the attention-to-detail. And the detail in this film was incredible. Costumes, buildings (Main Street USA, anyone?), songs, automobiles and the town bazaar are just some of the things that were authentic. Even the preacher's (Karl Malden) passionate flamed sermons were something not uncommon in this time period.
This film really showed Walt's sentimental side. During the screening of the film, Walt wiped tears from his eyes because it was so touching. And how could anyone not do the same? I certainly do when I see the end. A perfect mix of cute moments for children and meaningful points for adults, Pollyanna (like Mary Poppins) is also "practically perfect in every way."
This is an absolutely remarkable film.It is uplifting,life-affirming,and painfully truthful about human ways.Even though it is set in the early 1900's, its message is still very applicable in the modern world.I was blown away by the genuine power of Hayley Mill's performance.The supporting cast is also excellent,especially Karl Malden and Agnes Moorehead.If you want to see a nearly flawless and absolutely charming fim,than this is the one to see.Far and away Hayley's best performance.
Filling the tiny, but oh so impressive feet of Mary Pickford in one of her most acclaimed silent screen classics was quite a chore for Walt Disney. But in an impressive American screen debut, Hayley Mills launched her career in a most impressive way as Pollyanna.
Pollyanna, who is now an orphan, comes to live with her aunt Polly played by Jane Wyman who is one reserved New Englander. She's the richest woman in town and pretty much everyone kowtows to her. But when the eternally optimistic Hayley Mills comes to live in that town, her infectious spirit seems to effect everyone and everything around her.
Pollyanna is one of Disney's best live action films, Mills and the rest of the cast make it believable without being maudlin. Disney gave Mills and Wyman an impressive roster of players in support that include, Donald Crisp, Leora Dana, Karl Malden, Nancy Olson, James Drury, Reta Shaw, Mary Grace Canfield, and Kevin Corcoran as Mills's partner in juvenile hijinks.
Two people deserve special mention. One is Adolphe Menjou because this turned out to be his last film. He plays Mr. Prendergast the old miser who lives alone and miserable, but who softens at the warmth Pollyanna brings in his life. The second is my favorite here, Agnes Moorehead, who plays crotchety old Ms. Snow, one of those old folks who seem to enjoy being sick and miserable. Her scene at the end with Hayley Mills is the most touching of all in the film.
Pollyanna like George Bailey in It's A Wonderful Life both never realizes all the good she's done in that town and like Jimmy Stewart's character faces a crisis. But all her friends rally to her in an It's A Wonderful Life type climax.
Walt Disney does a wonderful job in recreating that era before World War I in small town America, very much like The Music Man. Pollyanna is what they mean by fine family entertainment, as good now as it was when I first saw it in theaters in 1960.
* Adolphe Menjou's last film.
* Hayley Mills' first filmed scene was with Karl Malden: Reverend Ford is practicing his sermon in an open field. Distracted and losing her concentration, Mills hadn't got anything "in the can" by the time cast and crew broke for lunch. Her father, the actor, 'John Mills' , took her aside to ask what was wrong. "Do you know what you are like?" he said. "You are like a great big white cabbage! Yes, really boring. Go on, pull your finger out." The afternoon's shooting went fine, but it was a long hot day "and Karl, I remember, got awfully sunburned. I always felt rather responsible."
* Director/screenwriter David Swift had wanted to trim the overlong film by about 20 minutes and rearrange some scenes (most notably the acquisition of the doll in the town bazaar sequence) but Disney, who fell in love with the film by watching the dailies, would not allow it and Swift did not have final cut privileges.
* Patty Duke auditioned for the plum part of Pollyanna.
* The Orphanage house is still on the Warner Bros back-lot and sits next to the house used in Elvira, Mistress of the Dark (1988).
* Apart from playing Jimmy Bean, Kevin Corcoran also did the narration for the Storybook Recording - a record that came packed inside the back cover of a softcover storybook you could read while listening to the record. Two of the songs that were dropped from the movie - "Pollyanna" and "The Glad Game" - were also included on the Storybook Recording.
* Roy Disney, studio business head and brother to Walt, issued thousands of "Pollyanna Photo Locket Necklaces" as a promotional item containing the famous quote attributed to Lincoln in the movie. Discovering the necklace in a gift shop while on vacation with his family, director/screenwriter David Swift called the studio to have the item recalled immediately. Lincoln never said, "When you look for the bad in mankind expecting to find it, you surely will." Swift had simply made it up.
* According to director David Swift, after looking at 362 girls for the part of Pollyanna, they still did not have anyone to play the part. One day, Walt Disney's wife Lilly went shopping with Disney studio head Bill Anderson's wife while they were in London on business. The two ladies saw Hayley Mills in Tiger Bay (1959) and thought she was perfect for the role of Pollyanna. The two men didn't listen to them, but they were so persistent that the men finally agreed to watch the movie and immediately decided to cast Hayley.
* Director Cameo: [David Swift] The fireman shown shooing the small boy off a ladder after the a boiler accident at the Harrington House Orphanage.