HOME |  JOIN |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
All the Money in the World
Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds, The
Black Panther
Children's Hour, The
Mayhem
Sphere
Guyver, The
Night School
Loveless
Ragtime
Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters
Murders in the Rue Morgue
Wound, The
Scalawag
Let's Get Harry
Girl with Green Eyes
Sunchaser, The
Tom Jones
Downsizing
Defiant Ones, The
Centerfold Girls, The
Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner, The
120 BPM (Beats Per Minute)
Police Academy 3: Back in Training
Safe Place, A
Saturday Night and Sunday Morning
Cargo
Entertainer, The
Wing Commander
Look Back in Anger
   
 
Newest Articles
A Yen for the 1990s: Iron Monkey and Satan Returns
Hey, Punk: Jubilee and Rock 'n' Roll High School
Help! with The Knack: Richard Lester in 1965
Roll Up, Get Yer Free Cinema: The Shorts on the BFI Woodfall Blu-rays
Time for Heroes: The Dam Busters and How I Won the War
Hell is a City: Midnight Cowboy and Taxi Driver
Boris Goes Bonkers, Bela Goes Bats: The Old Dark House and Mark of the Vampire
Charles Bronson's Mid-70s: Breakheart Pass and Others
Kids in America: The Breakfast Club vs Metropolitan
80s Dance-Off: Staying Alive vs Murder-Rock vs Breakin'
The Cinematic Darkside of Donald Crowhurst
Dutch Courage: The Flodder Series
Coming of Age: Boys on Film 18 - Heroes on DVD
Country and Irish - The secret history of Irish pop culture
Wash All This Scum Off the Streets: Vigilante Movies
   
 
  Whistle Down the Wind Just A FellaBuy this film here.
Year: 1961
Director: Bryan Forbes
Stars: Hayley Mills, Bernard Lee, Alan Bates, Norman Bird, Elsie Wagstaff, Diane Holgate, Alan Barnes, Hamilton Dyce, Diane Clare, Patricia Heneghan, Roy Holder, John Arnatt, Howard Douglas, Ronald Hines, Gerald Sim, Michael Lees, May Barton, Barry Dean
Genre: Drama
Rating:  8 (from 1 vote)
Review: Near a Lancashire farm, the three siblings who live there are following their father's sole employee as he walks towards the pond carrying a sack. He doesn't know he's being followed, and that's the way the children want it, for when he throws the bundle into the water and begins his walk back, they move in and rescue the sack, opening it up to take out the kittens that were held within. They conceal the creatures in their coats and make their journey to the barn, stopping along the way to assuage the suspicions of their father (Bernard Lee) who wanted the kittens drowned. But that barn will soon become more than a secret home to the little cats...

There are some films which were black and white for budgetary reasons, probably most of them in fact, yet among those are certain works which you cannot imagine being made in colour as it would drain the particular atmosphere from them and Whistle Down the Wind was one of those. It was based on a book by Mary Hayley Bell, who happened to be the wife of British star John Mills and mother to one of the stars, Hayley Mills, who appears as the eldest of the three children who make an important find in the barn: an allegory, of all things. And a Christian allegory, at that, or at least that's what it has been interpreted as for as long as the film has been in existence.

Yet if you take a closer look, there's something harder edged than a simple story of religious faith here, and Whistle Down the Wind begins to resemble more of an atheist take on the nature of blind acceptance of the existence of God. What Kathy (Mills), her sister Nan (Diane Holgate) and brother Charles (Alan Barnes), the youngest who is wise beyond his years, actually find in that barn is a fugitive from justice, a dazed murderer played by Alan Bates who is barely able to mutter "Jesus Christ!" when Kathy stumbles upon him in his makeshift shelter. This leads Kathy, whose mother we understand has died not too long ago, to wish to believe this man is The Son of God.

You know, like in the Bible, as the kids' Sunday School teacher tells them, although in a pointed scene she has trouble answering the tricky questions about the nature of Christ aimed at her by the class. All the way through the adults have either taken their faith for granted and never considered its implications, or barely register its presence: the father is more caught up in the day to day work on the farm than any meditations on what might be beyond our ken. The youngsters cannot accept this, and are forced by Kathy's faith to either acknowledge the runaway as the Christ she says he is, or like Charles become more cynical.

Charles may be the Doubting Thomas in all this, but he has good reason as his kitten died after he asked "Jesus" to look after it. In Keith Warterhouse and Willis Hall's script there are a fair few references to the scripture, so when one of the children confronts the local bully he is forced to deny this Christ three times as the disciple Peter once did, and after the Bostock kids have decided to look after their discovery, Malcolm Arnold's score plays "We Three Kings" to underline the comparisons (Jesus, in a barn, offered gifts, geddit?). This would all have fallen apart if the performances had been amateurish across the board, but although Mills is as remarkable as you might expect as Kathy wrestles with her religion in the face of stark reality, the supporting cast of non-professionals manage to keep up with her and render what could have been a shaky structure surprisingly solid. Yes, it's all terribly precious, but there's that bleak, monochrome landscape to undercut much of the cutesiness and usher in a quiet contemplation.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 2843 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which film has the best theme song?
Spectre
The Ups and Downs of a Handyman
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Enoch Sneed
Paul Smith
  Jamie Nichols
Andrew Pragasam
George White
Darren Jones
  Butch Elliot
   

 

Last Updated: