The Moon-Spinners is a 1964 American Walt Disney Productions feature film starring Hayley Mills in a story about a jewel thief hiding on the island of Crete. The film was based upon a suspense novel by Mary Stewart and was directed by James Neilson. The Moon-Spinners was Mills' fifth of six films for Disney, and featured the legendary silent film actress Pola Negri in her final screen performance.
Hayley Mills stars as Nikky Ferris who is spending time in Crete at a small inn called The Moon-Spinners with her Aunt Frances (Joan Greenwood). One day Nikky discovers a handsome young man, Mark Camford (Peter McEnery), wounded in an empty church nearby. It turns out that Mark was once a London bank messenger, but he lost his job after a major jewel robbery. Tagged as a suspect, Mark has made his way to the inn called 'The Moon-Spinners', to gather evidence against the inn's owner. The Inn owner is Stratos (Eli Wallach), who Mark thinks is the real jewel thief. Nikky and Mark fall in love and decide to capture Stratos together. Silent screen vamp Pola Negri makes her final career appearance as a jewelry aficionado.
The lead character is somewhat younger than in the novel. Traveling alone in the book, she is accompanied by her aunt in the film. The film is somewhat dark, similar to other Disney live-action features made in the '50s and '60s for more mainstream audiences such as 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and Treasure Island. It was Walt Disney's penultimate live-action film in which he was credited as producer while alive.
Disney convinced silent film actress Pola Negri, who had been retired for two decades, to return to the screen for this, her final film. Both Mills and Wallach were interviewed extensively about their work with Miss Negri in The Moon-Spinners for the 2006 biographical documentary film Pola Negri: Life is a Dream in Cinema.
Hayley Mills - Nikky Ferris
Eli Wallach - Stratos
Pola Negri - Mme Habib
Peter McEnery - Mark Camford
Joan Greenwood - Aunt Frances ferris
Irene Papas - Sophia
Sheila Hancock - Cynthia Gamble
Michael Davis - Alexis
Paul Stassino - Lambis
John Le Mesurier - Anthony Gamble
Andre Morell - Yacht Captain
George Pastell - Police Lieutenant
Director - James Neilson
Screenplay - Michael Dyne
Source Material (from novel) - Mary Stewart
Producer - Walt Disney
Assistant Director - John Peverall
Director of Photography - Paul Beeson
Editor - Gordon Stone
Music - Ron Grainer
Title Song - Terry Gilkyson
Art Direction - Tony Masters