HOME |  JOIN |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Leatherface
Grimsby
Caniba
Bedroom, The
Dark Tower, The
Better Watch Out
Beguiled, The
Year of the Comet
Levelling, The
Dog Days
Annabelle Creation
Once Upon a Time in Shanghai
Sssssss
Woman in Question, The
Atomic Blonde
Doulos, Le
Okja
Bob le Flambeur
Wedding in White
Léon Morin, Priest
Napping Princess, The
Scorpions and Miniskirts
Berlin File, The
Beaches of Agnès, The
Blue Jeans
Garokawa - Restore the World
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
Gleaners & I, The
Peter of Placid Forest
Golden Bird, The
   
 
Newest Articles
Music, Love and Flowers: Monterey Pop on Blu-ray
The Melville Mood: His Final Two Films on The Melville Collection Blu-ray
Always Agnès: 3 from The Varda Collection Blu-ray
Re: Possession of Vehicles - Killer Cars, Trucks and a Vampire Motorcycle
The Whicker Kicker: Whicker's World Vols 5&6 on DVD
The Empress, the Mermaid and the Princess Bride: Three 80s Fantasy Movies
Witching Hour: Hammer House of Horror on Blu-ray
Two Sides of Sellers: The Party vs The Optimists
Norse Code: The Vikings vs The Long Ships
Over the Moon - Space: 1999 The Complete Series on Blu-ray Part 2
   
 
  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 2710 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
Who's the best?
Robin Askwith
Mark Wahlberg
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
Andrew Pragasam
Keith Rockmael
Paul Shrimpton
Ian Phillips
Jensen Breck
   

 

Last Updated: