Movie Monday: Fitzwilly 1967
Feeling a bit weary of your standard sappy Christmas movie with lessons to be learned and epic tales to be told? Craving a delightfully decadent romp with some silly ’60s actors we all know and love? Well, Fitzwilly has the shenanigans to satisfy!
Mr. Fitzwilliam (Dick Van Dyke) is a savvy butler who works for the unwittingly penniless philantopist, Miss Victoria Woodworth, whose age doesn’t hinder her big ideas or big donations. Fitzwilly minds Miss Vicki’s entire estate, and takes the responsibility of her welfare very seriously. Would she have a heart attack if she found out she had no money left? The entire house staff doesn’t wait to find out, as they busily carry out Fitzwilly’s grand schemes to illegally keep the Woodworth bank account padded with money to keep the daily charity checks from bouncing. It’s all working out quite nicely until the nosy Juliette (Barbara Feldon) comes to work as Miss Vicki’s personal secretary.
Not only does Juliette seem to be foiling the house staff’s underground operations, but she has even managed to become romantically involved with the head butler himself- Mr. Fitzwilly. Well the poor guy just doens’t know what to do. The snooping Juliette can’t stay under the employment of Miss Vicki if the estate is to remain intact, but can he go through with his plan to send Juliette away when he cares for her so?
Hoping to solve their problems in just one evening, Fitzwilly and the staff plan to pull one last grand heist on Christmas Eve. The scheme has been maticulously laid out, and everything is ready, but what happens when Juliette learns more than she wanted to know, and one of the household staff begins to grow a conscience? Well, since this isn’t your regular holiday special, don’t expect your standard Miracle on 34th Street. Gimbles Department Store is in for a wild, wild night.
Fitzwilly is a fun, light comedy, so please don’t try to disect the plot or acting too much- it’ll ruin the experience for sure. But do be sure to enjoy some of my favorite actors in television history (even a young Sam Waterson!), and a superb collection of plaid skirt suits worn by Agent 99… er, ahem, Barbara Feldon. Seriously. I had a bad case of fashion envy throughout the entire movie.