Pollyanna (1960)

Pollyanna (1960), directed by David Swift.

Still catching up on family films I missed when young, although I don't suppose many boys saw this one (voluntarily) at the time.

An orphan girl moves in with her rich aunt who is a big wheel in her small town. Most everyone is strict and sour but, employing a positive outlook, a bit of matchmaking, and a talent for tactical disobedience, Pollyanna melts hard hearts and reforms the whole place. We have time for a weepie episode before the happy comeback.

It's sweet but not as syrupy as I would have thought. Pollyanna is earnest and not at all smug or preachy, which would just kill the story. Great sets and a strong cast. Mostly I marvel at the natural talent of Hayley Mills in her second movie. She's 13 but looks younger. She did Tiger Bay (1959) the year before and in just eight more would be in Twisted Nerve (1968). Time flies. She did a slew of Disney films in between.

It's over-long at 2 1/4 hours. The director was eager to cut 20 minutes and more but Disney, although he did not interfere with filming, had a hard time cutting; he fell in love with every scene and had to keep everything.

The DVD has a commentary track with Mills and the director recorded 41 years later. Lavish praise for everyone involved: