Theatrical release poster
Directed byNorman Tokar
Written byDavid Swift
Rosemary Anne Sisson
Based onChristmas at Candleshoe by Michael Innes
Produced byRon Miller
StarringJodie Foster
David Niven
Helen Hayes
Leo McKern
CinematographyPaul Beeson
Edited byPeter Boita
Music byRon Goodwin
Distributed byBuena Vista Distribution
Release date
December 16, 1977 (1977-12-16)
Running time
101 minutes
CountryUnited States

Candleshoe is a 1977 American family adventure film, directed by Norman Tokar in a screenplay by David Swift and Rosemary Anne Sisson and produced by Walt Disney Productions.[1] It was based on the Michael Innes novel Christmas at Candleshoe. The film stars Jodie Foster, David Niven, Helen Hayes (in her final film role), and Leo McKern.[2]


Con-artist Harry Bundage (McKern) believes that the lost treasure of pirate captain Joshua St. Edmund is hidden at Candleshoe, the large country estate of Lady St. Edmund (Hayes). Thanks to Harry's cousin Clara (Pickles), a corrupt former cleaning woman at Candleshoe, Harry has the captain's first clue. Harry recruits street-smart American foster child Casey Brown (Foster), employing her to pose as Lady St. Edmund's granddaughter, the Honourable Margaret, 4th Marchioness of Candleshoe, who disappeared ten years ago at age four. Casey is the right age to pass for the long-lost Margaret and possesses several identifying scars that young Margaret was known to have. Casey agrees to go along with the con and discover further clues in exchange for a cut of the profits.

Arriving at Candleshoe, Casey finds that Lady St. Edmund is living in genteel poverty, and that Candleshoe itself is constantly on the verge of being unable to pay its taxes. Priory (Niven), the estate's butler (who is forced to pose as various members of the household to conceal that all the other servants have been let go) manages to keep one step ahead of foreclosure by pawning the house's antiques, conducting tours of the estate, and selling produce at market. Four local orphans adopted by Lady St. Edmund assist Priory.

Casey eventually becomes part of the family and decides to find the treasure for the benefit of Candleshoe, rather than for Harry. This nearly costs the girl her life when she is seriously injured trying to prevent Harry from stealing money from Lady St. Edmund. Casey, now unconscious with a severe concussion, is taken to a hospital, and remains there for several days. Meanwhile, without the money Harry has stolen, Candleshoe is unable to pay its taxes and is within days of foreclosure. When Casey learns that Lady St. Edmund is preparing to go to a retirement home and send the children back to the orphanage, she breaks down and tells them about the treasure. After unraveling the final clue together, the household returns to Candleshoe to find Harry and his crew tearing the place apart to find the hidden treasure. Casey, Priory, and the children manage to fight off the thieves until the police arrive, inadvertently discovering the treasure in the process.

With Candleshoe safe and her scheme discovered, Casey, feeling she has no right to stay, prepares to return to Los Angeles, but is stopped by Lady St. Edmund, who offers her a real home at Candleshoe. Casey expresses doubt, wondering what will happen if Lady St. Edmund's real granddaughter ever returns, but she is eventually persuaded to return to Candleshoe with Lady St. Edmund. The ending is ambiguous as to whether Casey truly is the real Margaret.

The four clues revealed in the hunt for the treasure:


Compton Wynyates, the main filming location.
Compton Wynyates, the main filming location.

Compton Wynyates, in Warwickshire, the home of Spencer, 7th Marquess of Northampton, posed as the fictional estate of Candleshoe.

The Severn Valley Railway that runs between the midland towns of Bridgnorth and Kidderminister in the United Kingdom was used as a location in the film.[3]



On September 15, 2015, Intrada Records released a special edition of the soundtrack containing the entire score from the film plus bonus material, including alternate takes of some tracks.[4]


Metacritic gave the film a 68% score.[5]

See also


  1. ^ D23
  2. ^ Van Gelder, Lawrence (August 4, 1978). "Candleshoe (1977) Screen: Disney For the Older Set: Dickensian Disney". The New York Times.
  3. ^ Severn Valley Railway News Issue 43, Spring 1977
  4. ^ "Candleshoe". Intrada Records. September 14, 2015. Retrieved November 22, 2019.
  5. ^ Metacritic