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Sammy Going South [DVD] 
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Early 1960s adventure drama set in Africa. After narrowly escaping a bomb blast that destroys his home and kills both of his parents in Port Said, Egypt during the Suez crisis, ten-year-old Sammy (Fergus McClelland) decides to walk to Durban in South Africa to find his only living relative, an aunt he has never met. As he makes his 4500-mile journey across Africa, Sammy has all kinds of adventures including a run-in with the slave trade, and is forced to survive on his wits alone. Edward G. Robinson co-stars as Cocky Wainwright, a wily old diamond smuggler who befriends Sammy.
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Top customer reviews
A film which does what cinema is supposed to, ie take you out of yourself and into the world of its protagonists, until it ends. As for the story, others have dealt with it on here, so I won't add anything about it - suffice to say, it convinces.
Optimum are to be congratulated on reissuing this lost classic, and making more scenes available than what was seen on both original release and onC4 about 20 years ago...thoroughly recommended.
It was many years before I realised what a deep and dark classic was blended in with a simple family film.
I don't think you will be disappointed when you buy it. I KNOW I won't be. And NO, I will not make a penny from the release, I am just happy to know it is out there for new generations, and for all the people who have written to me over the years wanting to see it.
The film itself concerns Sammy an 11 year old boy who is orphaned during the Suez crisis, who decides to travel from Port Said to Durban, some 5,000 miles away. Like you do! The journey becomes a sort of rights of passage for the grieving youngster. He meets many different characters who befriend him for a variety of reasons, mostly for their own gain. But he also finds true friendship in a surprising source. We watch as Sammy travels through the diverse and magical landscapes of Africa, where much of the film was clearly made. He is not afraid to get his hands dirty, and is happier in the Sudan travelling with the ebony coloured locals, rather than in 1st class with other Europeans as they cruise up the Nile. This is what makes Sammy so accessible and likeable. It is interesting to note that this journey would now be much more difficult to undertake given the instability of many of the areas Sammy travels through.
That fine director Alexander "Sandy" MacKendrick, who made those great films "Whisky Galore" and "The Ladykillers", orchestrates this film with some flair. It would have been so easy for this film to have descended into cloying sentiment, but this is studiously avoided. Reality tells us that the epic journey would be next to impossible for an 11 year old. Thirst and banditry would have prevented such a youngster ever getting out of Egypt, let alone further, but the director makes it believable, and that is the beauty of film making. We go to the cinema to dream and be inspired, and that is what this film achieves. Edward G Robinson is superb in his role as Cocky the diamond smuggler. What a pity he was not able to take on more roles in his later years. It seems his later output was affected by events in the McCarthy era. The role of "The Godfather" should have gone to him, and not the mumbling, mouth full of marbles, Marlon Brando! We are also treated to the improbable sight of Robinson sharing scenes with the late great Harry H Corbett, of "Steptoe and Son" fame. Hard to believe!
The respected modern director James Mangold, director and co writer of "Walk the Line", who I tend to remember for his western remake of "3.10 to Yuma", also gives an insightful interview into the personality of Sandy MacKendrick. Mangold, a student of MacKendrick's, would seem to have genuine respect for the director who was also a fine teacher of film in California in his later years. He was a man who would spend many hours analysing and correcting mediocre student work. He was also a man who had a genuine heart for cinema, and who knew that to make good films meant a huge amount of energy and commitment. Good films involve a lot of hard work, and it is clear that MacKendrick lived to that ethos, which is reflected in this very fine work. The film has acquired a deserved cult following over the years, with many devoted fans who gain inspiration from Sammy. Count me in!
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I agree with some respondents in that it appears to be slow moving and inactive in parts.Read more