was a Disney live action film from 1977
, directed by Norman Tokar and based on a book by Michael Innes, a.k.a. J. I. M. Stewart.
Fourteen-year-old Jodie Foster
, already with "Oscar-nominated" attached to her name thanks to Taxi Driver
, is Casey Brown, a street smart juvenile delinquent living in Los Angeles
. One day, she is discovered by con man Harry Bundage (Leo McKern), who realizes that she is the perfect double for the long-lost granddaughter of Lady Gwendolyn St. Edmund (Helen Hayes). Bundage thus brings Casey with him to England to meet Lady St. Edmund, whom she successfully fools. You see, Lady St. Edmund's old manor house Candleshoe is alleged to contain a hidden treasure and Bundage, along with his partner-in-crime Clara Grimsworthy (Vivian Pickles), need someone on the inside to go through the Linked List Clue Methodology
But after joining the household, Casey discovers a terrible truth. Lady St. Edmund is an Impoverished Patrician
and doesn't even know it. Her only servant left is the butler, Priory (David Niven), who pretends to be all the rest of the household staff by being a Master of Disguise
. A group of local orphans taken in by the Lady (Veronica Quilligan, Ian Sharrock, Sarah Tamakuni, David Samuels) do most of the upkeep on the house and keep Candleshoe in the black by selling food grown on the estate at the local market. Of course, Casey couldn't care less about any of this and is only concerned with finding the treasure... at least for awhile anyway
Tropes Associated With This Film Include:
- Absurdly Ineffective Barricade: The group does the usual "toss the villains out and move the furniture to block the door" stunt, only to have the baddies reappear through the open door at the opposite end of the room.
- All Asians Know Martial Arts: Anna. It's even signaled by stereotypical "Oriental riff". Casey even says "You gotta be kidding" just before Anna takes her out with a kung-fu chop.
- Becoming the Mask: Casey
- Brick Joke: Casey originally agrees to help Bundage in exchange for ten percent of the treasure and a red Ferrari. Later, while she's recovering in the hospital, Casey is looking at a car catalog with a red Ferrari on the cover.
- Broken Bird: Casey
- Cat Fight: Casey has one with the other girls at the manor, complete with the Rule of Pool (it's actually a lake in this case).
- Covers Always Lie: Look at the castle in the picture on the right side of this page. Yeah, Candleshoe looks nothing like that in the actual film.
- Chekhov's Gag: Near the beginning of the film, there's a brief joke about the Great Hall floor being slippery. At the end of the climax, Casey uses this to defeat the villains.
- During the opening credits, Casey uses a similar trick to trip up a rival gang of kids in L.A.
- Defenestrate and Berate
- Driving a Desk: Used when Bundage is driving Casey to Candleshoe for the first time. When they get onto the actual property of the manor, the interior shots of the car change to being real, making the fakeness of the earlier shots all the more obvious.
- The Family for the Whole Family: Bundage's gang of crooks at the end of the film are exactly as competent as you'd expect a gang of crooks to be in a Disney film.
- Genre Savvy:
- Grande Dame: Lady St. Edmund
- Have a Gay Old Time: "Listen, Miss Clever Dick!" "Clever dick" is a British expression meaning roughly the same thing as "smart alec".
- Hidden in Plain Sight: The final clue leads to the statue of Captain St. Edmund in the great hall—the first thing Casey sees at Candleshoe
- Hollywood Darkness: Some day-for-night filming is used in the scene when Bundage steals the tax money.
- I Choose to Stay: Casey, after some coaxing. Also could apply to Priory, who remains with Candleshoe after all the other servants must be dismissed, even though he has to do all the work on a butler's wages.
- Identical Stranger / Prince and Pauper: Casey is not only the correct age to play Margaret, but has several critical identifying scars.
- Impoverished Patrician: Lady St. Edmund
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Casey.
- Land Poor: Lady St. Edmund has nothing left of value except for her estate.
- Linked List Clue Methodology: The four clues that lead to the treasure.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: Lady St. Edmund knew all along that Priory was pretending to be the rest of the help.
- Old Retainer: Priory
- Riddle for the Ages: The ending leaves one wondering, is Casey actually the girl she pretended to be?
- Given that Margaret was allergic to strawberries, and Casey clearly was not, almost certainly not.
- On the other hand, it wouldn't be the first time someone outgrew childhood allergies...
- Superdickery: The original advertising seemed intent on portraying Casey in the worst possible light. Consider the Tagline, "For 10% of the action and a red Ferrari, she'd con her own grandmother." Apart from the curiosity factor, this is probably an attempt by Disney to seem "cool" in the midst of the 1970s Anti-Hero trend. To be fair, this approach avoids giving away the ending, not that it'll be a huge surprise to anyone who's seen a Disney movie before.
- Trash the Set: Candleshoe in the climax
- Wig, Dress, Accent: How Priory fakes the rest of Candleshoe's staff. At one point when Lady St. Edmund fires one of his alter egos, Priory (as himself) begs her not to, on the grounds that he would "be very hard to replace."