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Disney’s EMIL AND THE DETECTIVES starring WALTER SLEZAK, BRYAN RUSSELL, ROGER MOBLEY and a cast of delightful kids and Skrinks (yep, Skrinks!)

It must have come as a surprise to movie goers in 1964 that Walt Disney would follow the success of his crowning achievement MARY POPPINS with an international film made from the same mold as ALMOST ANGELS and MIRACLE OF THE WHITE STALLIONS. The film is based on a worldwide bestseller by Erich Kastner from 1929 that would have been familiar to US audiences at the time. It had also been adapted for the screen 3 times before Disney made his version. The screenplay was written by A. J. Carothers, who also adapted WHITE STALLIONS.

Peter Tewksbury was hired to direct his only Disney film after a successful track record directing TV comedies, including Fred MacMurray on MY THREE SONS. Walter Slezak was cast to headline the film as the villain, his first and only Disney role. American child actor Bryan Russell plays Emil, who had a small role in BABES IN TOYLAND and would spend most of his short lived career at Disney. Roger Mobley, who plays Gustav, also had a good career at Disney, mostly in TV movies for The Wonderful World of Color. The rest of the American actors were children who had acted on TV, mixed with locally-cast German actors. Filming was done on location in Berlin and at Filmstudio Tempelhof.

The film opens with animated credits featuring three burglars. A narrator then introduces us to Emil, who is boarding a bus to visit his grandmother with an envelope of money for her, safety-pinned inside his blazer. However, he is being followed by a thief and when he wakes up from his nap, the envelope is gone. He chases after the man who was sitting next to him and tries to get the police to help, but because Emil didn't see him actually take the money the police won't help him. He meets a young boy named Gustav, a would-be detective who agrees to help him track down the man in the orange-checked suit. Gustav calls on his friends to play detectives as well, and they even have their own “detective” badges to prove it. Gustav finds evidence that the thief will be at a particular hotel and the kids station themselves to try and catch him. They finally learn that there are three crooks whom they call "skinks" and they are planning to build underground tunnels for a nefarious scheme. The kids follow the bad guys through a dilapidated building under which they are digging, the skinks realize they are being followed and the fun and action really take flight.

A fun movie with beautiful Technicolor photography of Berlin in the early Sixties, EMIL AND THE DETECTIVES is a fine Disney family film, worthy of rediscovery.

MOVIES ARE ON ARCHIVAL QUALITY TAIYO YUDEN OR VERBATIM ***All DVDs are MOD (made on demand) using archival quality DVD-Rs, with full color inkjet art on the discs and full DVD jacket art, in a standard DVD box. All DVDs are also in protective sleeves for the best protection of your new DVD as possible. Every DVD is guaranteed against defects. Thank you!*** and here is the basic disc info: MOVIES ARE ON ARCHIVAL QUALITY TAIYO YUDEN OR VERBATIM All DVDs are MOD (made on demand) using archival quality DVD-Rs, with full color inkjet art on the discs and full DVD jacket art, in a standard DVD box. All DVDs are also in protective sleeves for the best protection of your new DVD as possible. Every DVD is guaranteed against defects. Thank you! MEDIA, LABELED WITH FULL COLOR ART. PICTURE AND SOUND ARE ALWAYS 10 OUT OF 10, UNLESS NOTED, AND ARE COMPARABLE TO, OR BETTER THAN ANY COMMERCIALLY PRODUCED DISC. THEY ARE HOUSED WITH FULL-COLOR BOX ART IN STANDARD DVD CASES.