The North Avenue Irregulars

( 4 )

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 ...
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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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Special Features

Full-frame presentation
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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.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 12/17/2002
  • UPC: 013131232493
  • Original Release: 1979
  • Rating:

  • Source: Starz / Anchor Bay
  • Aspect Ratio: Pre-1954 Standard (1.33.1)
  • Language: English
  • Time: 1:40:00
  • Format: DVD

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 Jr. 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
Ceil Cabot
Roger Creed
Chuck Henry
Pitt Herbert
Darrow Igus
John Kerry
Dave Ketchum
Michael Lloyd
Linda Lee Lyons
Ed McCready
Bill McLean
Gary Morgan
Dave Morick
Mickey Morton
Cliff Osmond
Tom Pedi
Jack Perkins
Dennis Robertson
John Wheeler
Walt LaRue
Jack Griffin
Douglas Hume
Joan Hackett
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
Al 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. Program Start/Credits
2. Bats in the Belfry
3. A New Pastor
4. Sunday Treat
5. Words to Live By
6. Everyone's Recruiting
7. Dames on the Loose
8. Regrouping and Resolve
9. Surveillance
10. "Are You a Minister or Batman?"
11. Music and Flames
12. Cat and Mouse
13. News From Above
14. A Lucky Break
15. A Bust and a Derby
16. Kudos and Redemption
17. End Credits
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Menu

Side #1 --
   Chapter Selection
   Play
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 4 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(2)

4 Star

(2)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 1, 2010

    Great Fun

    Just as much just as much as when we were a lot younger

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Family film.

    This is a great family film. Has a great plot with a lot of excitement and a very funny car scene near the end.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    GREAT FAMILY FILM

    My family throughly enjoyed watching this film. The first time we saw this, we were house and dog sitting and I have been hunting for it since then. I want my five grandchildren to have a chance to watch it with me and have some good clean laughs.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    So kooky!

    I love this movie's kookiness. It's good old fashioned family fun for everyone.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews