|The Bashful Elephant|
|Directed by||Dorrell McGowan (de)|
Stuart E. McGowan (fr)
Rudolf Zehetgruber (asst. dir.)
|Produced by||Allied Artists|
|Written by||Dorrell McGowan (de)|
Stuart E. McGowan (fr)
|Music by||Ronald Stein|
|Edited by||Hannes Nikel|
|Distributed by||Allied Artists Pictures|
A 12-year-old orphan, Tristy (played by Mollie Mack; née Mollie Dorrell McGowan; 1946–1965) — escapes from an orphanage in Hungary (which then, was behind the Iron Curtain) to Austria with the help of Jeffrey, a huge border guard dog (played by a giant Irish wolfhound) in hopes of finding a "papa and mama." Austrian police vow to help her find a loving family, but, until then, Tristy would need to stay in an orphanage, away from her new friend, Jeffrey, the big dog. So, she escapes again and makes her first new home with a traveling circus owned by Kurt (played by Helmut Schmid) and befriends Valle, the circus elephant.
Kurt is in the middle of a divorce. Steffi (played by Kai Fischer) wants to marry Kurt because she loves him, but also so that they can adopt Tristie. More complications arise with the Salzburg police attempting to take Tristie into custody. When the police are defied by the elephant and the dog, they threaten to shoot both of them. Tristie slips away to give herself up but is followed by her four-footed friends, and decides the only course is for them to run away together.
Lost in the narrow streets she finds refuge in Saint Peter's Abby but is knocked unconscious by a fall down steep steps, picked up by the elephant and taken back to the circus, where eventually there is a climax that brings about a happy conclusion to the story.[ii][iii][iv][v][vi]
Starring roles (and age at date of release):
- Mollie Mack (née Molly McGowan; 1946–1965), Tristy (15 years, 8 months)
- Helmut Schmid, Kurt, the circus owner and elephant trainer (36 years)
- Kai Fischer Steffi, Kurt's sweetheart and circus performer (27 years)
- Buddy Baer, tavern owner (36 years)
- Fritz Weiss, Father Francis
- Arnulf Schröder, police inspector (58 years)
- Hans Schumm, Fritz (65 years)
- Hans Pössenbacher, constable (66 years)
- Gernot Duda (de), policeman (33 years)
Tagline – "It's Elephantastic!" The Bashful Elephant was filmed in Austria with an American production crew. It was a family project and was Molly McGowan's last performance. She died of cancer on April 3, 1965 in Los Angeles – at the age of 18 years, 10 months. She had been married to Herbert (Johnnie) Lee Hickey (1942–2002) for only 7 months. Mack had appeared several television and feature pictures. She was the daughter of co-director Dorrell McGowan (de) and the niece of co-director Stuart Edward McGowan (fr).
The film premiered Wednesday, November 22, 1961, at the Fox Burlingame Theater in Burlingame, California, as a companion feature with Disney's 1961 film, Babes in Toyland. Later, it was a companion feature with Disney's 1962 film, In Search of the Castaways.
Ronald Stein composed the music and wrote the lyrics, which were sung by Raffaela.
- "Italian Song"
- "The Bashful Elephant Coloring Book," Saalfield Publishing (1962)
References published in the AFI Catalog
- Daily Variety, January 25, 1962, p. 3
- Daily Variety, November 1, 1961, p. 6
- Daily Variety, December 26, 1961, p. 3
- Los Angeles Times, December 19, 1962, Sect. D, p. 9
- Variety, December 27, 1961, p. 8
- Variety, January 2, 1963, p. 8
- Daily Variety, October 18, 1961, p. 2
- Daily Variety, February 9, 1962, p. 3