March to Disney: The Gnome-Mobile

This is a series of posts this month wherein I will focus on Disney films. For more on my background with Disney films and about the timing of this focus please read the introductory post here.

It’s rather impressive how many Disney themes can run through one innocuous little film like The Gnome-Mobile. I bought it as part of a four-pack and almost instantly the common players and themes started to make themselves quite clear.

With regards to gnomes and other fantastical, diminutive humanoids this isn’t the only Disney title that touches on the that subject in the bundle. The set also contains Darby O’Gill and the Little People, and, outside the set there’s the atrocious DCOM Luck of the Irish. Even through acquisitions, like Studio Ghibli, whose latest release was The Secret World of Arrietty, which is a reworking of The Borrowers, these tales find their way to the fore every once in a while for Disney.

Yet again under a magnifying glass you find more themes. For example, there are also many Disney staples of the time. Firstly, there are Karen Dotrice and Matthew Garber, who are credited as The Mary Poppins kids and were paired together three times in Disney titles. Again, if you need a downer look up Garber’s bio.

Also recognizable from the Poppins crew here is Ed Wynn, whose delightfully goofy cameo in the film comes very late during a sadly elongated and anti-climactic courtship sequence that is really the only dull patch in an otherwise fairly delightful film.

In fact, as I write this I still have one of the two songs, both set to the same tune, stuck in my head. This was yet another project that the illustrious Sherman brothers set upon for Disney. Surely, no other musicians will be able to match their output in the annals of the Studio’s history due to their longevity, prolificness and sheer talent.

At the helm of this film was Robert Stevenson who was likely the foremost of Disney live action ventures.

Another interesting aspect of this film is that it again featured anthropomorphized creatures, but they were animatronic rather than animated. The illusion is sold a lot better in wide shots, but aside from Disney’s penchant for robotics it was clearly a budgetary concern.

While not a great film, it does have its share of fun moments and I was glad to have seen it if only to see more of the work that several of these artists did with the studio.