Thursday, March 17, 2016

Saint Patrick, Saint Anne...and JK! :)

Happy Saint Patrick's Day Everybody!

In honor of Saint Paddy's Day, TDS is taking a look at an early Jack Kelly film about an Irish-American family.

Sally and Saint Anne is a warm-hearted comedy from 1952. As the movie's poster proclaims, "If you loved the fun of Miracle On 34th Street...the happiness of Going My Way...the hilarity of You Can't Take It With You--this one's for you!" (It's got JK in it, so I know it's for me!)

Close-up of young JK from the Sally and Saint Anne poster

The Sally of the title (Ann Blyth) starts out as a 12 year-old schoolgirl who can't find her lunch pail one day. A friend advises her to pray to Saint Anthony, the patron saint of lost and stolen items. Sally hurries into a church, intending to pray at a statue of Saint Anthony. But, the school bell rings and she makes it only as far as a statue of Saint Anne (the mother of Saint Mary and the patron saint of mothers and minor children). Sally sends up a prayer to her instead.

Sally's lunch pail is quickly located. However, it was found on the back of an ice truck where she foolishly hitched a ride to school. She's reprimanded by her school's Mother Superior and must write her contriteness over and over on the blackboard as a punishment. Still, it's the beginning of a beautiful friendship between Sally and the Saint.

Over the next six years, Sally prays to Saint Anne about everything, especially her eccentric family, the O'Moynes. In addition to her parents, Sally has three brothers who have managed to succeed at nothing but failure. Willie (Lamont Johnson) is a luckless musician; Danny (Hugh O'Brian) is a stumblebum boxer; and Mike (played by JK) is a magician who finds magic rather tricky. 

Oh, and there's Sally's grandfather, who's refused to get out of bed for 20 years.

The family must pull together when a crafty alderman (played with a gleaming gold tooth by John McIntire) schemes to evict them from their cozy homestead so he can build a highway through it. But, the O'Moynes move on their own--house and all!--which only causes more complications for the comic clan. Eventually, however, Sally and her special friend Saint Anne save the day.

Here's a gallery of Sally and Saint Anne stills. The first two stills may look familiar--I scanned them for Linda Alexander to use in her fabulous biography of Mr. K! :)

Below, John McIntire (center) plays a scheming alderman who's been feuding with the O'Moynes for years. Below, he tells Aunt Bee Mom, Pop and Mike:

"I like Bret Maverick better than Bart Maverick."
And, if that's not bad enough, he wants to flatten their home to build a freeway. So, they move their house...right between two of the alderman's buildings.

He decides their tree's gotta go:

 Mike (JK, on the left) and his bros agree to chop down the tree. Unfortunately, it falls on one of the alderman's buildings. Danny (HO) pledges to pay for the damages with the winnings from his next fight. Pop thinks this is a bunch of blarney, since Danny never wins.
  As Sally watches, Mike displays some fancy footwork as he spars with Danny before the big fight:

I've seen some websites selling Sally and Saint Anne, but apparently it's never been officially released on home video, so buyer beware. For more about the movie in the meantime, there's a complete synopsis on TCM along with a link to vote on having it released on DVD. There's also a wonderful post about Sally and Saint Anne here on "Another Old Movie Blog". Enjoy! :)