The windmill was built by the production crew in Greece. The film is based on a 1962 novel of the same name by Mary Stewart. They quickly learn that it is the owner's brother Stratos who has requested that nobody stay at the Inn while he is up to something suspicious. Terry Gilkyson wrote the title song. He ties her up at the top of a locked windmill. James Neilson was brought on to direct, who had previously worked on Bon Voyage! Beyond that, most of the faces were new to both Disney fans and American audiences, since the film takes place in Greece and uses a largely international cast.
The credits play against footage of beaches and windmills as the Greek-inspired title song plays. The Moon-Spinners premiered on July 2nd, 1964 and opened in theaters on July 8th. And while they agreed that the actors gave great performances and the shooting locations were beautiful, they found the plot to have too many twists and not enough payoff. Critics said that the mystery wasn't entertaining enough for adults and would only be suitable for kids. A minor restoration appears to have been done.
Now that Hayley Mills was an 18 year old young women, Walt Disney was looking for more mature roles to branch out her talents as well as a way to diversify to typical type of films he was known for. Peter McEnery plays opposite Hayley Mills in his first of two Disney films. Because Paola Negri had retired from acting and was lured back by Walt Disney, this was her last film. She finds him wounded in a church and she returns to the inn to get him clothes and bandages. She had been a big silent film star who retired from the screen in 1943. When Aunt Francis notices her first aid kit is missing, she tells Stratos who realizes that Nikky is helping Mark and takes off after them. Walt Disney personally coaxed Paola Negri out of retirement.
Nikky and Mark are found by the British Consulate, who it turns out is in cahoots with Stratos. Stratos thinks Mark knows what he is up to after seeing him swimming dangerously close to where he is hiding something. When Mark goes missing, Nikky runs off to look for him. Stratos finds Nikky and assumes that Mark told her everything. Mark runs back to the inn while Nikky sneaks on to the yacht of Madame Habib, a wealthy eccentric lady who had arranged to buy the jewels from Stratos. There aren't any bonus features. We are introduced to Nikky and her Aunt Frances on an overcrowded bus heading to an Inn called The Moon-Spinners in a small village in Greece.
While Disney's intentions may have been to make a Hitchcock-like thriller, the end result doesn't hold a candle to any of his films. Taking a queue from master filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock, he greenlit a suspenseful mystery that he expected would appeal to kids and adults. Mark chases Stratos onto the ship where a fight breaks out, resulting in the police coming on board to arrest Stratos. . Mark tells Nikky that Stratos stole jewels from a countess in England and his hiding them. The owner tells them they aren't accepting guests, but Aunt Frances convinces the owner to let them stay.
Much of the film was shot on location in Greece, with interior sets filmed in England at Pinewood Studios. The audience doesn't find out what Stratos is up to until an hour into the film and his schemes frankly aren't that interesting. Michael Dyne adapted the screenplay for his only Disney film. Mark saves her in the just in time before Stratos returns with a gun to kill her. It was released on home video in 1985.
They meet a young man named Mark that evening during a party that the whole village is involved in. The films strengths are the great performances by the actors and the authentic shooting locations. . . .
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