Casey Brown (Jodie Foster) is a delinquent 15-year-old orphan who has bounced from one foster home to the next. Casey’s life takes a new direction when she makes a deal with British conman Harry Bundage (Leo McKern). Casey agrees to go to England with Bundage, with the aim of convincing Lady St Edmund (Helen Hayes) that she’s her long-lost granddaughter, Margaret, who was kidnapped and taken to America when she was four years old.
This scheme is based on Bundage’s belief that hidden somewhere on the St Edmund family estate of Candleshoe is a precious family treasure of ancient gold coins. Bundage wants Casey to find it. Casey manages to convince Lady St Edmund, who invites her to live at Candleshoe.
Casey soon discovers that kind-hearted Lady St Edmund has also taken in four other orphans. As well as that, the estate is on the brink of foreclosure and it’s only because of loyal butler Priory (David Niven) that they haven’t all been evicted. Priory has been pretending be all the different servants who’ve actually been made redundant, unbeknown to Lady St Edmund.
As Casey starts to feel more comfortable and welcome for the first time in her life, she decides to find the treasure – not to split the profit with Bundage but to save Candleshoe.
Coming of age; family; adventure; treasure hunt; comedy
Candleshoe has some violence. For example:
- Casey gets slapped in the face by a foster care manager.
- Casey and two other children get into a fight where they slap, hit and push each other.
- Bundage and his cousin Clara threaten to hurt Casey if she doesn’t do what they want her to do. They say they’ll kill her and throw her body into the ocean.
- Bundage wants to steal the money that Priory, Casey and the other children have earned at the market. When Casey tries to stop him, Bundage hits her over the head and nearly runs her over with a car. Clara pushes Casey so hard that Casey smashes into a tree and ends up in hospital with a concussion.
- Bundage attacks Priory with a hatchet and a sword.
- One of Bundage’s accomplices is knocked out with an iron saucepan.
- Bundage, Clara and their accomplices get buried under rubble – but they don’t appear to be hurt.
Alcohol, drugs and other substances
Nudity and sexual activity
There’s one reference to Cherry Coke in Candleshoe.
Candleshoe has some mild coarse language, name-calling and insults, including ‘You lousy creeps!’, ‘Shut up!’, ‘You rotten little scut!’, ‘Stupid little nutter!’, ‘You miserable, double-crossing little worm!’ and ‘You swine!’
Ideas to discuss with your children
Candleshoe is a family adventure movie from 1977, starring a teenage Jodie Foster, a brilliant David Niven, and other talented actors. Although the movie feels a bit dated, the story will still entertain a modern family audience, and the movie’s messages are as relevant as ever.
Because it shows some naughty and delinquent behaviour and has a couple of scary and violent scenes, Candleshoe isn’t suitable for children under six years. We also recommend parental guidance for children aged 6-7 years.
The main messages from this movie are that money isn’t as important as belonging and feeling loved.
Values in this movie that you could reinforce with your children include love, warmth, selflessness, honesty, teamwork and loyalty.
Candleshoe could also give you the chance to talk with your children about real-life issues like the difference between white lies on the one hand, and dishonesty, lies and cheating on the other. For example, you could ask your children whether Priory does the wrong thing when he pretends to be different servants to make Lady St Edmund happy and stop her from worrying. How is his behaviour different from Harry Bundage’s?