Candleshoe is a film you almost certainly won’t have heard of. I came across it one day in August 2000 as it was playing on a sky movie channel, and then repeated and repeated on that channel for maybe three weeks. I watched it several times. I don’t know why I liked it so much.
It stars a young Jodie Foster as Casey an “unwanted foster child hooligan” who is coerced by a baddy Harry (Leo McKern) to pretend to be the long lost granddaughter of Lady St. Edmund who lives in Candleshoe, a large English Manor house which Harry believes holds hidden pirate treasure that he has clues to finding. In an Anastasia style plot he coaches Casey up to pretend to be the missing Honourable Margaret, 4th Marchioness of St Edmond.
When she arrives at Candleshow Casey sees that Lady St Edmund lives with four orphans who she has adopted. (I miss remember this as two children) Also in the house are a range of staff and Priory the butler (plot point*). The estate has no money and Candleshoe is very near danger of closing. Priory has even been pawning the house’s antiques, conducting tours of the estate, and selling produce at market to save the house from going under.
*Interestingly, you never see two members of staff together at the same time… Lady St Edmond sends Priory to fetch the gardener and only the gardener comes back… get it yet.
Candleshoe is broke, the treasure could save the house and the family. Will Casey risk everything to find the treasure and help Candleshoe?
Yes. She does. Of course she does and she gets to live happily ever after with a family she never had. The Anastasia side of story is actually left ambiguous, as there is every possibility that Casey could be the girl who was kidnapped aged 4. We will never know.
If they ever repeat this film or if you find it in a vault somewhere, let me know. It’s worth it for the scene with David Niven and Helen Hayes (in her last big screen appearance) where they finally discuss the staffing issue!