On 23 July the BFI is releasing The Children's Film Foundation - London Tales, the first themed DVD collection of films made by the CFF, containing The Salvage Gang (1958), Operation Third Form (1966) and Night Ferry (1976).
The Children's Film Foundation was a non-profit making pan-industry initiative, set up in 1951 by the owner of the Odeon and Rank cinema chains to make home-grown entertainment for young cinemagoers to see at the ‘Saturday morning pictures’.
After many years out of distribution, these much-loved and fondly-remembered family films return to the screen, newly transferred from the best-available elements held in the BFI National Archive which now preserves the entire collection of around 400 films.
In London Tales, the first DVD volume, villains, conmen and plain bad luck are no match for plucky London youngsters. Directed by acclaimed filmmaker John Krish (I Think They Call Him John), The Salvage Gang is an affectionate tour of bomb-damaged London, featuring performances from a young Frazer Hines (Doctor Who, Emmerdale) and a cameo by Wilfred Brambell (Steptoe and Son).
With its groovy 1960s soundtrack, Operation Third Form (1966), by CFF veteran David Eady, is a pacey boys’ own adventure starring a fresh-faced John Moulder Brown (Deep End).
Night Ferry (1976) stars Bernard Cribbins (The Railway Children, Doctor Who) as ‘Pyramid’, a dastardly master-of-disguise who plans to smuggle an ancient Egyptian mummy out of the country. When young Jeff, played by Graham Fletcher-Cook, discovers the plan, a dangerous chase via South London’s Victoria Station and Clapham Junction ensues.
The Salvage Gang and Operation Third Form will be screened at BFI Southbank on Saturday 21 July at 3.10pm in the Capital Tales strand, introduced by director John Krish and The Salvage Gang actors Frazer Hines and Amanda Coxell.