A little girl comes to a town that is embattled by feuds and intimidated by her aunt. By the time she must leave
Eleanor H. Porter's story of Pollyanna, "The Glad Girl," was first filmed in 1920 by Mary Pickford. While entertaining, the Pickford version tended to reduce the supporting characters to stereotypes. Disney's 1960 remake of Pollyanna wisely offers three-dimensional characterizations, enhancing the charm and believability of the story. In her first Disney film (indeed, her first American film), Hayley Mills stars as Pollyanna, an orphan girl sent to live with her wealthy aunt Polly (Jane Wyman). A humorless sort, Aunt Polly is taken aback by Pollyanna's insistence upon seeing the happy side of everything. With her best friend and fellow orphan, Jimmy Bean (Kevin "Moochie" Corcoran), Pollyanna spreads her sunshine all over town, transforming such local curmudgeons as hypochondriac Mrs. Snow (Agnes Moorehead), hellfire-and-brimstone Reverend Ford (Karl Malden), and reclusive Mr. Pendergast (Adolphe Menjou) into positive, life-affirming sorts. This she does not by being simpering or syrupy, but by applying common sense and refusing to indulge anyone's self-pity.