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The Gnome-Mobile (1967)

Approved | | Adventure, Family, Fantasy | 19 July 1967 (USA)
An eccentric millionaire and his grandchildren are embroiled in the plights of some forest gnomes who are searching for the rest of their tribe. While helping them, the millionaire is ... See full summary »


Robert Stevenson


Ellis Kadison (screenplay), Upton Sinclair (book)

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Complete credited cast:
Walter Brennan ... D.J. Mulrooney / Knobby
Matthew Garber ... Rodney Winthrop
Karen Dotrice ... Elizabeth Winthrop
Richard Deacon ... Ralph Yarby
Tom Lowell ... Jasper
Sean McClory ... Horatio Quaxton
Ed Wynn ... Rufus
Jerome Cowan ... Dr. Ramsey
Charles Lane ... Dr. Scoggins
Norman Grabowski ... Male Nurse
Gil Lamb ... Gas Attendant
Maudie Prickett ... Katie Barrett
Cami Sebring Cami Sebring ... Violet


An eccentric millionaire and his grandchildren are embroiled in the plights of some forest gnomes who are searching for the rest of their tribe. While helping them, the millionaire is suspected of being crazy because he's seeing gnomes! He's committed, and the niece and nephew and the gnomes have to find him and free him. Written by Marta Dawes <smdawes@home.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Laugh & thrill with those lovable kids from MARY POPPINS! See more »


Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »






Release Date:

19 July 1967 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Automobil za patuljke See more »

Filming Locations:

Big Basin, California, USA

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)


Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.75 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Matthew Garber and Karen Dotrice also played brother and sister in Mary Poppins, 3 years earlier. See more »


D.J's room in the asylum is shown to have a window that is flush with the wall. However, outside shots show that the room is at roof level, and the window is protruding out of the roof. See more »


Referenced in Schlock! The Secret History of American Movies (2001) See more »


The Gnome-Mobile Song
Words and Music by Robert B. Sherman and Richard M. Sherman
Sung by Walter Brennan, Matthew Garber, and Karen Dotrice
See more »

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User Reviews

A tall tale about very small people
18 February 2009 | by Atreyu_IISee all my reviews

In all the 3 movies which Matthew Garber appeared, Karen Dotrice was his co-star. "The Gnome Mobile" is the third of them. The previous ones are "The Three Lives of Thomasina" and "Mary Poppins". This duo is also known as the «Mary Poppins kids». Matthew Garber and Karen Dotrice are two of my favorite kid stars, particularly Matthew.

This fantasy film is something I recommend for anyone who likes old live-action Disney films, Disney in general and especially for fans of Matthew Garber and Karen Dotrice, no matter their age. Yet, this film seems to be more for children because it's somewhat childish.

The film was directed by the famous Robert Stevenson, the same guy who directed movies such as the great "Old Yeller" and "Mary Poppins" and the okay films "The Love Bug", "Herbie Rides Again" and "Bedknobs and Broomsticks".

The movie is generally likable, colorful and has soul, but it doesn't manage to be a truly great movie. The movie is quite promising in the beginning and it goes rather well until more or less the middle, perhaps a bit later than that. However, after that it isn't that great and becomes a little goofy for my taste.

The sceneries are great, particularly the forest, which create an atmosphere that strongly resembles "The Wizard of Oz". Less good are some scenes with cars that inspired certain scenes for "The Love Bug", but at least those scenes are separate. The scenes with gnomes clearly resemble later movies such as "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory". At the end, there are some nice primitive special effects.

Walter Brennan is excellent in the role of the eccentric but disciplined D.J. Mulrooney and he is never annoying, unlike that gnome with big beird whose name I don't even know. The character D.J. Mulrooney owns a Rolls-Royce Phantom II, the gnome mobile of the title. A fine automobile indeed, but gigantic. If we consider its immense size and the time when the car was made, it's concerning the serious dangers they took with such an unsafe and huge car by doing some crazy stuff in curves and high speed.

As for the kids (Matthew Garber and Karen Dotrice), they are perfect in their acting. Very lively, cute, charming, smart and classy. It's possible to see Matthew Garber doing incredible things here, such as driving a car and climbing a building. In fact, the scene when Matthew tries to drive the huge car but can't reach the pedals because he's too small for it is funny and Karen gives him a help. After the funny sequence when he climbs a building and helps his grandfather to escape is when the movie begins to lose its initial greatness.

Matthew Garber portrays Rodney, while Karen Dotrice plays Elizabeth. They're brothers and their surname is Winthrop. I've gotta say, Rodney is a lovely and different name - very classy and British too. I love Matthew's lines «When I get a car, it's going to be a Maserati» and «1 horsepower??». The kid is fine, huh? I mean, a Maserati. That's thinking tall :)

The classic comedian Ed Wynn has a small role as one of the gnomes at the end, but this time he isn't as funny as usual.

Sad that Matthew Adam Garber is not with us anymore. Why didn't he and Karen keep in touch after this film? After all, they did 3 movies together and they were friends. Another funny line of Matthew is when he comments that nobody has a snoring like grandpa...

As for the soundtrack, "The Gnome Mobile Song" is great, very charming, jolly and timeless. The movie wasn't a success. Maybe Matthew lost his motivation because of this and gave up on his acting career. Probably Karen felt the same and maybe that's why she was such a long time without making movies.

In conclusion, a decent movie although not all that great. But it's worth for the lovely Matthew Garber and Karen Dotrice.

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