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At last Mr Sim is transferred to dvd..
'Green Man', 'An Inspector Calls' etc.... more please ?:-)
A very entertaining film set in post-war Britain, featuring fine performances from its cast both young and old. Whether you're a fan of Alastair Sim (portraying the author of the magazine story), or the Ealing films, or of good British films then this is one to add to your collection.
A little gem. Although this is pitched as "the first of the Ealing Comedies", there are few outright laughs and it's perhaps better to approach this a thriller made for children. The imagery of British neo-romanticism is strong here: nature & children reclaiming the bomb-sites along the Thames; the sense of "another world" alongside the normal (secret codes, the sewers, children's street culture, the deserted moonlit streets; and the sense that history has been embodied in the landscape of the river and docklands itself). There are also some uncanny & unexplained touches, that serve to express how these children must have been influenced by growing up during the war; one child with an uncanny voice seems to be able to create real wartime sounds many times larger than himself. Or perhaps it's just the echoes in the bombed out buildings; the viewer is left to decide.
Sadly the transfer to DVD is bad, with the first third in particular looking like it's been taken off an old TV dub. The sound is still good, and the ensemble & adult acting convincing enough. The camerawork and cutting in the final scenes with the villain is excellent, although the scene would have been better done at night (but would then have been too scary for the intended audience).
Watch also for the Helen Levitt style chalk drawings around the opening titles. Overall, the film compares well to similar titles such as Carol Reed's 'A Kid for Two Farthings' and J. Lee Thompson's 'Tiger Bay'.