Foster Kid at Home with the Priory
When it comes to family movies there was a time when Disney ruled the big screen, from the 60s through to the 70s with movies such as "Mary Poppins" and "Bedknobs and Broomsticks". But whilst there are many which defined the family movie genre there are just as many which are now all but forgotten and in many ways "Candleshoe" is one of them. Oh I am sure those who watched it in their childhood will have fond memories but it's not a movie which springs to mind in the list of notable Disney movies. And to be honest it's not notable, there isn't anything really special about it but it is fun and a pleasure to watch even if it doesn't leave you with any sort of lasting impression.
Having learnt of a hidden treasure in an old stately home, small time crook Harry Bundage (Leo McKern) ropes orphan Casey (Jodie Foster - Freaky Friday) into his plans to find the treasure. He needs Casey because she looks like the missing granddaughter of Lady St. Edmund (Helen Hayes) who lives at the stately home with her butler Priory (David Niven - The Guns of Navarone) and some orphan children. Having duped Lady St. Edmund into believing that Casey is her granddaughter Casey starts the hunt for the treasure but she discovers that Lady St. Edmund is broke, although she doesn't know this as Priory has been protecting her from the truth. And so Casey feeling at home helps out in the pretence whilst trying to keep Harry at bay.
I suppose one of the issues which prevent "Candleshoe" from being more memorable is that the storyline is not that original. On one hand we have con artist Harry Bundage using Casey to try and find a hidden treasure by having her pretend to be a long lost granddaughter of Lady St. Edmund. Then on the other we have the masquerade going on at Lady St. Edmund's stately home with butler Priory and the children who live there protecting Lady St. Edmund from the truth and the financial worries. And of course these two stories combine as Casey warms to the old lady and those who live there whilst realising that Harry is a nasty piece of work, or at least nasty in a Disney family friendly way. To put it simply it doesn't take an adult to work out that Casey will end up helping Priory and Lady St. Edmund whilst sticking it to Harry.
But whilst these two storylines aren't original they are well put together, interweaving nicely as we have Casey trying to discover clues to the treasures whereabouts whilst also learning about the financial woes. It has a simple charm to it and it is this simple charm which makes it entertaining, well that and a lot stereotypical mirth such as a chase scene and an over the top final fight. Although it has to be said that whilst not a violent movie the actual fights are more visual and even Jodie Foster appears to be hit by an adult.
Talking of Jodie Foster well once again it is a confident performance from the young actress and because she is so confident the other young actors seem shaky in comparison. But as Casey this is what we have seen Foster do before, the tough street kid with a smart alec attitude but with a good heart and that appeal which makes us warm to her. It is ironic that in a movie which sees such veteran performers as Helen Hayes, David Niven and Leo McKern it is Foster who steals every single scene although you can't but help love David Niven as butler Priory especially when he masquerades as other characters such as the gardener and the driver.
What this all boils down to is that "Candleshoe" is another enjoyable Disney family friendly movie and another which sees Jodie Foster delivering a scene stealing performance. But whilst enjoyable there isn't anything notable about it, no stand out scene, joke or performance and so whilst an entertaining watch it is sort of forgettable.