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Anchor Bay presents
"I think she'd no more related to Gran than the postman. She is here for a purpose, and it's up to us to find out what it is."
DVD ReviewFollowing her performances in Taxi Driver, The Little Girl Who Lives Down The Lane (1976) and Freaky Friday(1977), Jodie Foster returns to Disney as the streetwise Casey Brown in 1977's Candleshoe. Based on Michael Innes's book, Christmas At Candleshoe it was filmed on locations ranging from urban Los Angeles to the centerpiece Tudor mansion, Compton Wynyates, in Warwickshire, England—a favorite retreat of Henry VIII.
After returning home from an afternoon of thievery and general troublemaking, Casey is turned over to who she believes to be the police by her landlady. After unsuccessfully negotiating her way out of the situation, she realizes she has been chosen by con man Harry Bundage (Leo McKern) to play the part of the long lost heiress to the Candleshoe estate, upon which resides the hidden treasure of its privateering ancestor, Captain Joshua. With the aid of Bundage's sister, a former Candleshoe employee, Casey is taught the ins and outs of the famous lost granddaughter, and a meeting is arranged with the Candleshoe matron, Lady St. Edmond (Helen Hayes). Casey navigates the ruses of butler Priory (David Niven) and is accepted as the missing granddaughter. As she begins to uncover the clues left in the Captain's will, she also uncovers some other oddities surrounding life at Candleshoe. Cluny (Veronica Quilligan), the eldest of the other children in the household (Ian Sharrock, Sarah Tamukini, David Samuels) suspects that something fishy is going on with this new granddaughter, which raises tensions in the household and provides interference for Casey's detective work.
I don't know why, but Candleshoe is one of my favorite Disney live action movies. Foster delivers a fine performance as the tomboy Casey, in one of her better teenage roles. Helen Hayes is simply charming as the grandmother and house mistress, keeping her many staff on their toes, especially David Niven, who handles his part with style, while keeping the humorous element intact with a few surprises. Bad guy McKern aptly covers his part in the story as the bumbling Bundage. There is bit of mystery, plenty of hi-jinks and some non-threatening violence delivered in Disney style. A fun and engaging film for all ages, without the sappy love stories or over-pandering to the emotional elements prevalent in today's family films. The outcome is inevitable, but the road to it is paved with enough distractions to keep things interesting.
Rating for Style: A
Rating for Substance: A
Image Transfer Review: Although there is some serious print damage in a couple of places, and a few brief scenes with an over abundance of dust on them, over all the film looks very good. Saturation and contrast are for the most part very good, and color is solid, though there is a look found on many films of this age in the color spectrum, which tends towards more earthy tones than over saturated and exaggerated colors we see today. The widescreen image holds up well even when zoomed for widescreen sets, with only faint line structure present. The full screen side is an open matte rendering with similar qualities and print defects.
Image Transfer Grade: B+
Audio Transfer Review: An English 2 channel mono track is the only available option. It is clean and hiss is present though not overly distracting. Anchor Bay has again done a good job preserving the soundtrack for these Disney films.
Audio Transfer Grade: B+
Disc ExtrasStatic menu
Scene Access with 19 cues and remote access
Extras Review: Completely devoid of on-disc extras like other Disney licensed titles. After the initial FBI warnings and Anchor Bay plug screen, we get a simple, and not too exciting static menu with play and chapter selection options. There is an overview of the cast, director, producer and the locations on the enclosed leaflet, though it does contain spoilers.
Extras Grade: D
Final CommentsA solid, movie-only Disney release from Anchor Bay. Jodie Foster is her usual entertaining self, but Niven and Hayes' performances really solidify the film and elevate it above standard. Typical Disney shenanigans and a satifying conclusion make Candleshoe another recommended title from Anchor Bay.
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