Home > classic, Genre, historic, Movie, Review > Movie Review: The Happiest Millionaire (1967)

Movie Review: The Happiest Millionaire (1967)

A man's smiling face.Summary:
This live-action Disney musical tells the story of the Biddle family through the eyes of their recent Irish immigrant butler, John Lawless.  Anthony Biddle is independently wealthy and a bit eccentric doing everything from keeping alligators to running a Bible study group that includes learning boxing.  He must not only face it that his beloved daughter, Cordy, is growing up, but also come to accept her choice of husband.

Review:
I added this to my queue after calling my dad up to pester him to help me remember a movie I used to watch with him when I was little.  All I could remember was “there were alligators in the house.”  Based on that, he guess The Happiest Millionaire, and he was right!

It’s an odd experience watching a movie that resides in your subconscious.  What really stuck out in my memory was the songs.  Two in particular “Bye-Yum-Pum-Pum,” which is all about how to flirt with boys and “Let’s Have a Drink On It,” which is essentially John trying to get the young groom to be wasted to keep him in town for the night.  It’s your classic Disney musical numbers, and they’re all fun.

I was at first surprised and then not surprised at all to see that this movie is really about the father/daughter relationship.  Suddenly why my dad used to watch it with me made sense.  Mr. Biddle is trying to protect his daughter while simultaneously letting her go live her own life.  Similarly, Cordy loves her papa and is trying to learn how to be herself while still being his daughter.  It’s really quite touching and gently handles a relationship that isn’t talked about very much.

I also was pleased to see that this was Lesley Ann Warren’s first big screen role.  I love her in pretty much everything I’ve ever seen her in.  I think she’s under-recognized among fans of musicals, and that’s sad.  Her voice is so unique, and she really emotes with her eyes.  Also, Fred MacMurray plays the role of Mr. Biddle, which was fun to see.

Overall, I recommend this to fans of Disney movies and musicals alike, but especially to those who enjoy a film about the father/daughter relationship.

4 out of 5 stars

Source: Netflix

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