Candleshoe is a 1977 American family adventure film, directed by Norman Tokar in a screenplay by David Swift and Rosemary Anne Sisson and produced by Walt Disney Productions. It was based on the Michael Innes novel Christmas at Candleshoe. The film stars Jodie Foster, David Niven, Helen Hayes (in her last film role), and Leo McKern.
|Directed by||Norman Tokar|
|Produced by||Ron Miller|
|Written by||David Swift|
Rosemary Anne Sisson
|Based on||Christmas at Candleshoe by Michael Innes|
|Music by||Ron Goodwin|
|Edited by||Peter Boita|
|Distributed by||Buena Vista Distribution|
|December 16, 1977|
A hooligan American orphan is roped into a treasure hunt on a noble's English estate.
Con-artist Harry Bundage (McKern) believes that the lost treasure of pirate captain Joshua St. Edmund is hidden at Candleshoe, the large country estate of Lady St. Edmund (Hayes). Thanks to Harry's cousin Clara (Pickles), a corrupt former cleaning woman at Candleshoe, Harry has the captain's first clue. Harry recruits street-smart American foster child Casey Brown (Foster), employing her to pose as Lady St. Edmund's granddaughter, the Honourable Margaret, 4th Marchioness of Candleshoe, who disappeared at age four. Casey is the right age to pass for the long-lost Margaret and possesses several identifying scars that young Margaret was known to have. Casey agrees to go along with the con and discover further clues in exchange for a cut of the treasure.
Lady St. Edmund, however, is living in genteel poverty, and Casey quickly learns that Candleshoe itself is constantly on the verge of being unable to pay its taxes. Priory (Niven), the estate's butler (who is forced to pose as various members of the household to conceal that all the other servants have been let go) manages to keep one step ahead of foreclosure by pawning the house's antiques, conducting tours of the estate, and selling produce at market. Four local orphans adopted by Lady St. Edmund assist Priory.
Casey eventually becomes part of the family and decides to find the treasure for the benefit of Candleshoe, rather than for Harry. This nearly costs the girl her life when she is seriously injured trying to prevent Harry from stealing money from Lady St. Edmund. Casey, now unconscious with a severe concussion, is taken to a hospital, and remains there for several days. Meanwhile, without the money Harry has stolen, Candleshoe is unable to pay its taxes and is within days of foreclosure. When Casey learns that Lady St. Edmund is preparing to go to a retirement home and send the children back to the orphanage, she breaks down and tells them about the treasure. After unraveling the final clue together, the household returns to Candleshoe to find Harry and his crew tearing the place apart to find the hidden treasure. Casey, Priory, and the children manage to fight off the thieves until the police arrive, inadvertently discovering the treasure in the process.
With Candleshoe safe and her scheme discovered, Casey, feeling she has no right to stay, prepares to return to Los Angeles, but is stopped by Lady St. Edmund, who offers her a real home at Candleshoe. Casey expresses doubt, wondering what will happen if Lady St. Edmund's real granddaughter ever returns, but she is eventually persuaded to return to Candleshoe with Lady St. Edmund. The ending is ambiguous as to whether Casey truly is the real Margaret.
The four clues revealed in the hunt for the treasure:
- "For the sunrise student there is treasure among books." (This refers to a message in a stained-glass window that can only be seen in the Candleshoe library at sunrise.)
- "The paths of glory lead but to the grave." (This refers to the poem "Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard" by Thomas Gray.)
- "He followed the eclipse for riches and fame; and, if ye would prosper, do ye the same." (The clue refers to a painting of Captain St. Edmund's ship, the Eclipse.)
- "Underfoot, in the great hall. Look high, look low, discover all." (This clue refers to a statue of Captain St. Edmund in Candleshoe's great hall. The statue's foot is propped on a chest in which the treasure is hidden.)
- Jodie Foster - Casey Brown
- David Niven - Priory
- Helen Hayes - Lady Gwendolyn St. Edmund
- Leo McKern - Harry Bundage
- Vivian Pickles - Clara Grimsworthy
- Veronica Quilligan - Cluny
- Ian Sharrock - Peter
- Sarah Tamakuni - Anna
- David Samuels - Bobby
- John Alderson - Jenkins
- Mildred Shay - Mrs. McCress (Casey’s foster mother)
- Michael Balfour - Mr. McCress (Casey’s foster father)
- Sydney Bromley - Mr. Thresher
- Michael Segal - Train Guard
- Van Gelder, Lawrence (August 4, 1978). "Candleshoe (1977) Screen: Disney For the Older Set: Dickensian Disney". The New York Times.
- Severn Valley Railway News Issue 43, Spring 1977
- "Candleshoe". Intrada Records. September 14, 2015. Retrieved November 22, 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)