Movie at a Glance:
Movie Title: Summer Magic
Movie Genre: Musical
My Vote: 4 Thumbs Up: Add it to Your Wishlist
Nancy Carey played by Hayley Mills
Osh Popham played by Burl Ives
Margaret Carey played by Dorothy McGuire
Movie in a Minute:
Summer Magic is a 1963 musical put out by Walt Disney. When the Carey family loses their money due to a bad investment made by their late father, widowed Mrs. Carey must find a cheaper place to live.
Her daughter Nancy remembers a country home they once visited while on vacation and she decides to inquire if it is still vacant. When she receives a reply from Osh, the local postmaster and land agent, that the home is indeed vacant, Nancy shares the happy news with her mom and siblings.
When the Careys arrive in town, they find out the Yellow House is in need of repair and the owner is off in Europe, having left no plans of coming home any time soon. But since they received permission from Osh to renovate the Yellow House, the Carey’s think things are finally working out.
But when Mrs. Carey receives word that a haughty young cousin needs a place to stay for the summer, the Carey children think things couldn’t be worse. Will things work out for the Carey family? Will the snooty cousin ruin their summer magic? And what will the owner of the Yellow House think of the changes they are making? Find out by watching this summertime family classic movie. ©MegsMinutes.com
This movie makes for a nice afternoon of tv. This was actually one of the first movies I saw when the Hallmark movie channel first launched. While I am a fan of Hayley Mills, I had never seen this particular movie.
I think the movie has a good cast with many familiar faces. Whether it’s Burl Ives from Christmas specials and The Big Country or Una Merkel, whom I first knew as Verbena in original The Parent Trap – which by the way, also starred Hayley Mills. Another actor you may recognize is the barber young Peter visits, played by Norman Leavitt. Norman was a character actor who played in many of the old tv show classics, from Hazel to Wagon Tain.
I enjoyed many of the musical numbers that are peppered through the movie. There are 7 total songs, but they are spaced out so that there is an enjoyable amount of dialog in-between tunes. There is a creative use nature video of various landscapes, animals, and insects shown in order to bring several songs to life. And after the outdoor scene at night, this movie will make you regret not having a spacious front porch!
One fun trivia fact is that the movie received a Golden Globe Nomination for Hayley Mills’ acting. Specifically it was for her leading role in a musical or comedy.
While I thought the script was entertaining, I would have wished to make a few changes in it. However, the changes are not enough to keep me from watching the movie or recommending it with cautions (see my content cautions section below).
The tension running through the main plot kept my interest through the whole movie. It could hold the interest of any age group. If you are looking for something to play in the background on a lazy summer day, this might just be what you’re looking for. Summer Magic has a high re-watchability factor and is good enough to take up shelf space in any movie library.
Meg’s Content Cautions:
Overall, this is a fun, mostly family friendly movie to watch. Because of how lies are handled in the movie, I recommend a teachable moment before and after watching – see my cautions under ‘D‘ below. 😉
V- There is no violence in the movie. A character is scared when a dog comes in through the window at night into their room.
L- There are no curse words used in the movie.
S- There is no sexually explicit content.
D- Nancy Carey uses what she calls ‘white lies’ to get the sympathy of a certain character, which helped to move the plot along. Apart from a few shocked moments from her mom, the practice was not discouraged. If you have kids watching who haven’t already learned about trust and what lying (white or otherwise) can do to that trust, this might be a topic you find yourself discussing. Also, a major scene takes place at a Halloween party.
For more information on the Meg’s Content Cautions rating system, please check out the FAQs page.
Movie Character Notes:
Mrs. Margaret Carey is a once-wealthy, mother of three who has recently become a widow. Her late husband’s business affairs were significantly affected by bad investment advice from a family friend. Because of this she must quickly tighten the budget and find a new place to live that is more economical than Boston. But will she be able to find a place that will fit her family and her budget? Margaret is played by Dorothy McGuire.
Nancy Carey is Margaret’s only daughter. She is determined to help her family make their new lives work. When she thinks of times past with her late father, she remembers a trip they made as a family years ago. Acting on a hunch, she writes a highly embellished letter to the postmaster of the small town they visited. Can she convince the postmaster to help her family out? Nancy is brought to life by Hayley Mills.
Gilly Carey is Margaret’s eldest son. He has enjoyed living in town and is having a hard time seeing the silver lining in having to give everything up. Will he be able to adjust to the pace of country life? Gilly is played by Eddie Hodges.
Peter Carey is Margaret’s youngest child. He’s all for helping the family out and doing his part, but what should his part be? Peter is played by Jimmy Mathers.
Sam is a shaggy dog young Peter agrees to watch.
Osh Popham is the general store owner and postmaster. He’s also in charge of a small house Nancy is asking about. Will he help the Careys when he knows their real circumstances? Osh is played by Burl Ives.
Mariah Popham is Osh’s wife. She is set in her ways and her ways often differ from her husbands. Will she figure out what Osh is up to and blow the whistle? Mariah is played by Una Merkel.
Digby Popham is Osh and Mariah’s son. He drives delivery for the Popham general store. When the Carey’s come to town, he and Peter become fast friends. But when Digby starts listening to tales from the city, will it make him restless for a change of scenery? Digby is played by Michael J. Pollard.
Lallie Joy Popham is Osh and Mariah’s daughter. She’s quite shy, but she’s instantly interested in the Carey children, especially Gilly. Will she be able to step out of her comfort zone to go out with him at the party? Lallie is played by Wendy Turner.
Julia Carey is the Carey’s uppidy cousin. When her adoptive parents ask Margaret to take her in for the summer season, the Carey children are not supportive. When Julia arrives she makes life difficult for everyone. Will the Carey’s be able to look past Julia’s pretense to become friends? Julia is played by Deborah Walley.
Charles Bryant is the new-to-town school teacher. When rumor has it that he is college educated and a former football player, he become the interest of all the single girls in town. But which girl will capture his attention? Charles is played by James Stacy.
Mr. Tom Hamilton is the owner of the Yellow house who is currently far, far away in Europe. While Osh doesn’t think Mr. Hamilton will be coming to America any time soon, what will the owner think of what’s going on? Tom is played by Peter Brown.
General Movie Information:
Movie Genre: Musical
Movie Year: 1963
Movie Format: Color
Movie Runtime: About 1 hr. 49 min.
How I Found It: I first watched this on tv.
Part of a series: No
Series Name: n/a
Movie Director: James Neilson
Movie Studio: Walt Disney
Movie Writer: Sally Benson
Movie Rating: G
Where to Rent and Buy:
Rent on Amazon Video: https://www.amazon.com/Summer-Magic-Hayley-Mills/dp/B006G3CJ40/
Buy DVD on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Summer-Magic-Hayley-Mills/dp/B00005JMVV
Rent Digitally on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/movie/summer-magic/id281682105
Buy Digitally on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/movie/summer-magic/id281682105