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The Wee Men (1947)

Approved | | Animation, Comedy, Short | 8 August 1947 (USA)
A yarn about the mythical Leprechauns who reside in Ireland and their crock of gold. The legend says that if anyone succeeds in capturing one of the wee men, the little person must then ... See full summary »

Director:

Bill Tytla

Writers:

Ewald Ludwig (story), Isadore Klein (story) (as I. Klein) | 1 more credit »

Star:

Jackson Beck
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Cast

Uncredited cast:
Jackson Beck Jackson Beck ... Narrator / Leprechauns (voice) (uncredited)
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Storyline

A yarn about the mythical Leprechauns who reside in Ireland and their crock of gold. The legend says that if anyone succeeds in capturing one of the wee men, the little person must then lead them to where the gold is hidden. Young Patrick, on his 121st birthday---that is correct, his 121st birthday---is permitted to do a good deed, and delivers new shoes to the homes of the poor. But, alas, the town miser spots him and succeeds in capturing him. Patrick leads the miser to the spot of the gold, a tree stump, and promises, as the legend says, not to remove it while the old miser rushes home for a shovel. But, when he returns he now finds hundreds of tree stumps, and is foiled. Young Patrick is welcomed back home with a birthday cake...with 121 candles. Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

owl | gold | miser | tree | tree stump | See All (30) »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

8 August 1947 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Los hombres diminutos See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Famous Studios See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)
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Did You Know?

Soundtracks

Start the Day with a Song
(uncredited)
Song by Buddy Kaye & Dick Manning
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User Reviews

Imaginative Irish landscapes in cartoon about leprechauns
4 September 2014 | by BrianDanaCampSee all my reviews

The storyline in "The Wee Men" (1947) involves a band of leprechauns in a remote Irish forest who make shoes and deliver them, at no cost, to the poor while protecting their crock of gold. The leprechaun code dictates that they must give up their gold to any man who successfully catches a leprechaun. Young Paddy, on the occasion of his 121st birthday, is allowed for the first time to deliver the shoes, which can only be done on a night with a full moon. In the course of the shoe distribution, Paddy encounters a tall, lanky, greedy miser--all arms, legs, bones, and dressed in black--who makes it his business to catch Paddy and force him to show him where the gold is. Paddy must then come up with a way to outwit him.

It's a slight plot, but it gives the director, Bill Tytla, the opportunity to indulge in some of the most atmospheric production design seen in a non-Disney studio cartoon of the era. From the opening narrated introduction of the Irish setting, seen entirely at night, to Paddy's lone, fearful journey through the forest to the menacing house where the miser lives and the forced trip back through the forest, we get a richly drawn and colored backdrop which reminds us of similar scenes in Disney features, which is no surprise when we consider that Tytla was once one of Disney's most distinguished animators, having made significant contributions to SNOW WHITE, PINOCCHIO, FANTASIA, and DUMBO. Here, the character of the miser is as detailed, dramatic, and imposing a villain as any in a Disney movie.

As I watched it, I noticed similarities to Tex Avery's "The Peachy Cobbler" (1950) and Chuck Jones' "The Wearing of the Grin" (1951), both of which came AFTER this cartoon. Tytla himself made a follow-up cartoon in 1949 called "Leprechauns Gold," which is worth seeing but is much lighter hearted and less intense than this one. One scene in this cartoon, showing the elves making the shoes, features "Start the Day with a Song," which would become the theme song of Paramount's "Screen Songs" cartoon series. This cartoon was part of the Paramount Noveltoon series and can be found in a beautifully restored Technicolor copy on the Noveltoons Original Classics DVD set from Thunderbean Animation.


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