North Avenue Irregulars

North Avenue Irregulars

4.5 4
Director: Bruce Bilson

Cast: Bruce Bilson, Edward Herrmann, Barbara Harris, Susan Clark

     
 

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One of the bigger non-cartoon moneymakers for Disney in the 1970s, The North Avenue Irregulars is predicated on the premise of the "Neighborhood Watch" system. Priest Michael Hill (Edward Herrmann), newly arrived on North Avenue, decides to buck the patriarchal notions of his superiors by delegating church responsibilities to the neighborhood women. Since theSee more details below

Overview

One of the bigger non-cartoon moneymakers for Disney in the 1970s, The North Avenue Irregulars is predicated on the premise of the "Neighborhood Watch" system. Priest Michael Hill (Edward Herrmann), newly arrived on North Avenue, decides to buck the patriarchal notions of his superiors by delegating church responsibilities to the neighborhood women. Since the ladies include Vickie, Jane, Anne, Claire and Rose (Barbara Harris, Karen Valentine, Susan Clark, Cloris Leachman and Patsy Kelly), we're well primed for a surfeit of feistiness. Father Michael entrusts the church funds to Rose, who loses it all at the race track. In trying to retrieve the cash, he comes up against an influential bookie ring, controlled by several of the above-suspicion town officials. The wily priest responds by organizing the ladies of his congregation into the North Avenue Irregulars, a two-fisted crimefighting unit. There's slapstick aplenty within the film's 99 minutes, including the expected comic car crash. North Avenue Irregulars is based on a (drawn-from-life?) novel by the Reverend Albert Fay Hill.

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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
This lighthearted mix of slapstick and social satire isn't all it could have been but remains a likable effort. The script has a great premise but the quality of the writing is unfortunately a bit thin: The second act lacks structure and pace, ultimately devolving into a series of disconnected set pieces, and the writer never develops a single memorable villain for the heroes to battle. Despite these problems, The North Avenue Irregulars remains solid family fare thanks to skilled direction and performances. Director Bruce Bilson keeps the tone light and the pacing fast by placing an emphasis on visual humor (sight gags abound and the film is bookended with nifty slapstick set pieces). He also gives his cast plenty of room to add wit and warmth to their broad characterizations: Edward Herrmann is a delight as Reverend Hill, mixing middle-class charm and sharp comic timing to create a performance that conjures up memories of Jack Lemmon, and Susan Clark adds a bit of dramatic weight that keeps the film from floating off into pure silliness. However, the true scene stealers are the women who assist Reverend Hill in his crusade: Barbara Harris stands out as an unflappably prim suburban mom and Cloris Leachman is both amusing and touching as the lonely old maid of the group. All in all, The North Avenue Irregulars is good family fun and one of Disney's better live-action efforts from the 1970s.

Product Details

Release Date:
07/06/2004
UPC:
0786936234329
Original Release:
1979
Rating:
G
Source:
Walt Disney Video
Region Code:
1
Time:
1:40:00
Sales rank:
7,245

Special Features

Closed Caption; French and Spanish subtitles; Dolby Digital Mono sound; Widescreen (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 televisions

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Edward Herrmann Michael Hill
Barbara Harris Vickie
Susan Clark Anne
Cloris Leachman Claire
Karen Valentine Jane
Michael Constantine Marv
Patsy Kelly Rose
Douglas Fowley Delaney
Virginia Capers Cleo
Steve Franken Tom
Dena Dietrich Mrs. Carlisle
Dick Fuchs Howard
Herb Voland Dr. Fulton
Alan Hale Harry the Hat
Melora Hardin Carmel
Bobby Rolofson Dean
Frank Campanella Max
Ivor Francis Rev. Wainwright
Marjorie Bennett Mother Thurber
Ruth Buzzi Dr. Rheems
Carl Ballantine Actor
Ceil Cabot Actor
Roger Creed Actor
Chuck Henry Actor
Pitt Herbert Actor
Darrow Igus Actor
John Kerry Actor
Dave Ketchum Actor
Michael Lloyd Actor
Linda Lee Lyons Actor
Ed McCready Actor
Bill McLean Actor
Gary Morgan Actor
Dave Morick Actor
Mickey Morton Actor
Cliff Osmond Actor
Tom Pedi Actor
Jack Perkins Actor
Dennis Robertson Actor
John Wheeler Actor
Walt LaRue Actor
Jack Griffin Actor
Douglas Hume Actor
Joan Hackett Actor
Louisa Moritz Mrs. Gossin

Technical Credits
Bruce Bilson Director
Gordon D. Brenner Editor
Robert F. Brunner Score Composer
Jack T. Collis Art Director
Kevin Corcoran Associate Producer
Art Cruickshank Special Effects
Eddy Donno Stunts
Joel Hirschhorn Songwriter
Kasha Songwriter
Chuck Keehne Costumes/Costume Designer
Danny Lee Special Effects
Tom Leetch Producer
Eustace Lycett Special Effects
Louis Mann Production Designer
John Mansbridge Art Director
Ron Miller Producer
Norman Rockett Set Decoration/Design
Christopher N. Seiter Asst. Director
Leonard J. South Cinematographer
Emily Sundby Costumes/Costume Designer
Don Tait Screenwriter

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Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Opening Credits [9:35]
2. New Minister in Town [8:13]
3. Sunday Treat [6:46]
4. Words to Live By [8:13]
5. Special Investigators [7:23]
6. Undercover [9:14]
7. The Money Man [8:00]
8. The Pass [8:30]
9. Sunday Morning Music [6:16]
10. The Missing Link [11:16]
11. Find the Money! [10:50]
12. Mysterious Ways/The End [5:16]

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