Thursday, May 7, 2009

The Boy Who Turned Yellow

(1972, UK, 55m)
d Michael Powell p Drummond Challis, Roger Cherrill, Emeric Pressburger sc Emeric Pressburger ph Christopher Challis ed Peter Boita ad Bernard Sarron m Patrick Gowers, David Vorhaus cast Mark Dightam, Robert Eddison, Helen Weir, Lem Kitaj (Dobbs), Brian Worth, Laurence Carter, Patrick McAlinney, Esmond Knight

A charmingly nonsensical reunion and final collaboration for the Archers (and Challis), at the service of the Children’s Film Foundation. In fact, a whole tube train turns nicely yellow as schoolboy John is on his way home. That night, he’s visited by Nic (as in Electro-nic), a vision in yellow oilskin, skis and motorcycle helmet with flashing light, who arrives through the TV set (like an anarchic but still schoolmasterly Roger Livesey). They travel via electric waves to retrieve John’s lost mouse at the tower of London, where John’s sentenced to be beheaded after a neat fight on a spiral staircase. The beefeaters eat beef, Esmond Knight pops up as an avuncular doctor and all the children are frightfully well-spoken. Pressburger’s script celebrates history, Englishness and education, both at school and in front of the TV, and Powell contributes some endearing overplaying, cheerful undercranking and an overall sense of jolly good fun. The kids thought so too: it won the CFF “Chiffy” two years running!

© Time Out Film Guide

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