THE ADVENTURES OF BULLWHIP GRIFFIN
Of those countless live-action films that Disney made and seemed to have forgotten about, this is by far one of the best - and now they're finally releasing it on DVD.
Roddy MacDowell stars as Eric Griffin, a by-the-books, remarkably canny Butler for the Flagg family. When the patriarch dies and the Flagg orphans are revealed to be destitute, Griffin must follow them to the wild west where he proves that good manners and a clever, clear head can help one overcome any situation, from poverty to bandits to bare-knuckle boxing championships. The villian of the show, played over-the-top with delicious relish by the potatoe-nosed Karl Malden, is a treat, and a great counter for MacDowell's clean, handsome Griffin.
There are laughs, great action sequences, and numerous episodic adventures, but what really makes this movie shine is a strong sense of period. The feeling that this really is the mid nineteenth century, and not a '60s recreation, is palpable, and is a must for any fan of Westerns, victoriana, steampunk, or just the good old days when "for the whole family" didn't just mean "for kids." For similar enjoyment, check out Disney's soon-to-be-released dvd of "In Search of the Castaways", based on Jules Verne's riveting adventure "Captain Grant's Children."