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The Luck of the Irish

Luck of the Irish title card

Year - 1948
Studio - Twentieth Century Fox
Stars - Tyrone Power, Ann Baxter, Cecil Kellaway, Jayne Meadows, Lee J. Cobb, James Todd
Director - Henry Koster
Writing Credits - Philip Dunne (screenplay), Guy and Constance Jones (novel)
Music - Cyril Mockridge


Two journalists, Stephen Fitzgerald (Tyrone Power) and Bill Clark (James Todd), are traveling in the Irish countryside, when their car breaks down. Stephen goes off into the woods looking for help, and finds himself near a waterfall in a beautiful clearing. There he finds an odd little man repairing shoes, and asks him for directions to the nearest town. After eyeing him suspiciously, the man (Cecil Kellaway) points him to a nearby village.

Stephen checks into a quaint little hotel in the village. Hearing Stephen's story about the little man in the clearing, the astonished proprietor explains that there is no such waterfall and that the man that he saw is, in fact, a leprechaun. He tells him, further, that Stephen should have demanded the leprechaun's pot of gold. Later, Stephen secretly observes the proprietor leave a bottle of scotch on the outside doorstep and then, sees the same little man take it and run off. Stephen follows him back to the woods and apprehends him. Assuming he is being subjected to a practical joke, he demands that the "leprechaun" relinquish his pot of gold. Reluctantly, he digs up a small pot which, to Stephen's amazement, is full of ancient gold coins. When Stephen tells him that he can keep his gold, the surprised but grateful leprechaun gives him one of the coins as a good luck keepsake.

Luck of the Irish poster

Back at the village, Stephen meets a lovely local lass, Nora (Ann Baxter). The two get to know each other over the next couple of days, as he waits for a ship to arrive to take him away. He tells Nora about his encounter with Horace but she, too, insists no such waterfall area exists. He takes her there to prove his story, but the waterfall has disappeared. As they stand on a cliff overlooking the sea, they see the ship arriving to take Stephen back to the city so that he can return to America. His friend and fellow journalist Bill Clark urges him to stay and work for him, but Stephen is determined to leave.

Back in New York, Stephen begins a new job as a speech writer for an ambitious publisher, David Augur (Lee J. Cobb), who's running for the U.S. Senate. Stephen is also engaged to Augur's daughter, Frances (Jayne Meadows). Augur puts up Stephen in an apartment, and hires a butler to work for him there. When the new butler arrives, Stephen is amazed to see that it is the Irish leprechaun, but the man shows no recognition of Stephen and introduces himself as "Horace".

Horace drives Stephen to a meeting but the car breaks down on the way, so he suggests Stephen take the subway to his destination. On the train, Stephen is amazed to spot Nora. He catches up with her and the two are surprised but happy to be together in New York. As they have lunch together, she explains that she came on family business, and must return in a week. Later that week, after attending a rollicking Irish wedding party together, Stephen confesses to Nora that he is engaged to Frances.

Stephen resents the demands placed on him by Augur, especially writing positions that are completely contrary to his personal beliefs. At a large dinner event, Augur publicly announces that he is promoting Stephen to run his publishing empire for him while he campaigns, but Stephen declines the promotion out of principle. Frances tells him that, because of his decision, their marriage is off.

Stephen confronts Horace, forcing to admit that he is indeed the leprechaun he met in Ireland. Horace admits it, and further explains to Stephen that Nora's appearance in America was only in his imagination. Stephen realizes that Nora is the one he really loves, and he returns to Ireland to marry her. He takes a position with Bill Clark, doing writing that doesn't compromise his integrity.

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When first exhibited theatrically, the sequences in Ireland in The Luck of the Irish were tinted green. The DVD now available includes that tint option.