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A Kid For Two Farthings [1955] [DVD]

4.2 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Celia Johnson, Jonathan Ashmore, Diana Dors, David Kossoff, Brenda De Banzie
  • Directors: Carol Reed
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: U
  • Studio: Orbit Media
  • DVD Release Date: 5 Feb. 2007
  • Run Time: 96 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000KP7N6Y
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 61,111 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)
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Product description

Product Description

Carol Reed's whimsical 1950s comedy-drama. In a working-class London community of small shops, open-air vendors and flea-marketers, Joe (Jonathan Ashmore), a small boy, lives with his mother, Joanne (Celia Johnson), who works in and rooms above the Kandinsky tailor shop. Joe is innocently and earnestly determined to help realise the wishes of his poor, hard-working neighbours. Hearing from Mr Kandinsky (David Kossoff) the tale that a captured unicorn will grant any wish, Joe uses his accumulated pocket change to buy a kid with an emerging horn, believing it to be a unicorn. But can his dreams ever come true?

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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This is a charming story about a small boy's indomitable trust and optimism in a confused world, set in East London's "Fashion Street" (Petticoat Lane Market) in the early 1950s. The bustle and hustle of street-trading life is contrasted with philosophical humour and wisdom. The philosopher is Avron Kandinsky, a "simple" Trouser Maker played by David Kossoff, who is given some deep wisdom to impart to Joe, a small boy who is waiting (with his mother, Celia Johnson) for his father to come back from Africa.
The screen-play, though very touching, is offset with much humour. Sid James, Alfie Bass and Irene Handle add zest in that respect.
The boy is a failed pet-owner; Kandinsky's back yard is littered with pet-graves. Joe acquires a runt kid with only one horn, thinking it must be a unicorn; which, as we all know, can grant wishes. So Joe bestows wishes with abandon upon all his friends. His child's optimism proves true (ah! the power of make-believe!) and leads to the happy ending the story deserves.
Climactic action is provided by a wrestling match - a grudge fight between Joe's friend (Joe Robinson aka "Mr Universe") and a bully of a professional wrestler. Diana Dors, in her delectable prime, simmers and shimmers as Joe Robinson's love interest - and the catalyst for the grudge!
Naturally, the "unicorn" suffers the same fate as all of Joe's previous pets, but not before doing its stuff for Joe.
This beautiful little film, typical of Carol Reed, is more than a cameo of Petticoat Lane as it was. It has hidden depths that surface with subsequent viewing. The recurrence of the dome of St. Paul's throughout the film is nicely rounded off in the final scene, as Mr Kandisky, sinking slowly into the West, offers his last wise pearl - "Unicorns can't grow up in Fashion Street, but boys have to".....
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I first saw this film in 1955, having read the book a year or two earlier. I knew the story of the boy and his mother, living in the post war East End, among the stalls and market traders and spivs. At the time I looked on it as a comedy, it was full of people and events that in the context of the time made us laugh.
Now, as an old man, I find it to be a wonderful, gentle, bittersweet comedy and I am not ashamed to say that my eyes were moist at the closing scene. David Kossof and the studio make - up artists gave the world the most convincing Avrom Kandinsky that we could wish to see - and listen to.He is the tailor/trousermaker Philosopher who holds the story together.
The story is one of hope and aspiration and the desire to improve one's lot in spite of life's setbacks; and a little miracle is nice too.
See this film, watch a little piece of history, the people you see are the same as our contemporaries but better dressed! Only the scenery is different. You will also learn just how valuable is a unicorn's horn, especially to a little boy who believes in it.
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Set in the 1950s this film if one of my favourites. It shows a way of life that has long since disappeared. Especially, the little boy who runs about the market being well known by all the stall holders. David Kossoff plays a lovely roll filling the boy's head with majical answers especially about unicorns, it certainly holds the imagination. Your heart goes out to the little lad as his various pets die and it soon becomes evident that he hasn't a clue about how to care for animals but he is never cruel, always thinking that he is doing the best for them. The little kid, which he truly believes is a unicorn is delightful and the fact that all his wishes come true is amazing. If only he could keep the unicorn alive. Again, David Kossoff comes to the rescue when he tells the boy that his unicorn has finally gone to Africa to be with all the others, before he buries it in the garden along with all the other animals. As I said, it is a tear jerker of the best. Diana Dors also plays quite a good part as the fiance of a body builder who just wants to get married as quickly as possible. I would recommend this film to anyone, it is all round family entertainment.
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We all need a little charm in our lives and this will give you a chunk of nostalgic magic on a Sunday afternoon. Watch it with your Mum, Granny, niece, nephew or best friend, all washed down with cups of tea. It has old London and a touch of realism amongst the acting. Maybe it's just me but the world of innocence through the eyes of this child is charm itself. Wonderful Celia Johnson and Diana Dors is at her best with her boxer boyfriend and a vision of an England long gone. The market place with the cockney characters a lost era of 'kitchen sink' drama. Buy, enjoy, sigh contentedly at this gem from yesteryear.
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At last I am rewarded for a long search for this film at an affordable price. It seems to be a collectors' item now. I remember first seeing this film when I was a child, and never forgot it. I could even recall the music half a century later. Nostalgic; sometimes you just can't beat low budget films for imagination.
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I saw this film as a child first time round, and read the original book. I found Wolf Mankowitz's writing rather disappointing, my first experience of literary criticism at the tender age of 11, though even at that age I greatly enjoyed watching him in the TV chat shows of the era - the 1950s. The film was utterly delightful and I have wanted a copy for myself for a long time. I look forward to watching the film again, soaking up the atmosphere of post-war London where I grew up, and also to re-reading the book to see if a 65-year-old is less critical.
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