The Great Rupert
The Great Rupert is a 1950 comedy family film, produced by George Pal, directed by Irving Pichel and starring Jimmy Durante, Tom Drake and Terry Moore. It is based on a story, written by Ted Allan, which has also been published as a children's book under the title "Willie the Squowse".
|The Great Rupert|
|Directed by||Irving Pichel|
|Produced by||George Pal|
|Written by||Ted Allen (story)|
|Music by||Leith Stevens|
|Edited by||Duke Goldstone|
George Pal Productions
|Distributed by||Eagle-Lion Films|
The story revolves around a little animated squirrel who, with lots of charm, accidentally helps two economically distressed families overcome their obstacles.
Rosalinda Amendola, the daughter of happy but impoverished former acrobats is in love with the boy next door, aspiring composer Pete Dingle. Though Pete's parents are wealthy, his miserly father Frank insists on hiding his money from his investments in the wall of their family home.
The situation changes when Joe Mahoney, a vaudeville performer has fallen on hard times and has to leave his best friend and stage companion, Rupert a dancing squirrel, in Frank and Rosalinda's town where he will have to fend for himself with the other squirrels and live in a tree. Unsatisfied with tree life, Rupert gains access to the Dingle home and unbeknownst to Frank, has his bed in Frank's hidden cache of money. Rupert decides to clear room in his domicile by throwing Frank's money through a hole so that it floats down into the Amendola household who think the money has come from Heaven in answer to Mrs. Amendola's prayers.
Attracted by Louie Amendola not only paying his debts, but helping all the needy businesses of the town, the FBI, IRS and local police converge on the House of Amendola to discover the source of the family's wealth.
- Jimmy Durante as Mr. Louie Amendola
- Terry Moore as Rosalinda Amendola
- Tom Drake as Peter 'Pete' Dingle
- Frank Orth as Mr. Frank Dingle
- Sara Haden as Mrs. Katie Dingle
- Queenie Smith as Mrs. Amendola
- Chick Chandler as Phil Davis
- Jimmy Conlin as Joe Mahoney
- Rupert, an animated squirrel
- Hugh Sanders as Mulligan
- Don Beddoe as Mr. Haggerty
- Candy Candido as Molineri - Florist
- Clancy Cooper as Police Lt. Saunders
- Harold Goodwin as Callahan - F.B.I. Man
- Frank Cady as Mr. Taney - Tax Investigator
- Irving Pichel as Puzzled Pedestrian (uncredited)
George Pal's stop-motion animation used in creating the illusion of a dancing squirrel (Rupert) was so realistic that he received many inquiries as to where he located a trained squirrel.
In 1999, Arnold Leibovit Entertainment re-released the film on DVD.
In 2003, 20th Century Fox and Legend Films revived the (now) public domain film with a colorized special edition, under the title A Christmas Wish. For that release, Terry Moore provided an audio commentary track.