When young Robert Shannon is orphaned he leaves his home in Ireland and travels to Langford, Scotland, home of his maternal grandparents. Growing up in the home of his penny-pinching grandfather is made bearable by his doting but irresponsible great-grandfather, loving grandmother and kind aunt and uncle. After a rocky start in his new school Robbie adjusts and is befriended by Gavin and Allison, whom he grows to love as the years pass. As he matures into a young man Robbie's dreams turn to medicine and becoming a doctor. Supported by everyone in the family except his grandfather, he studies for a scholarship as a way to escape life toiling in the local boiler-works. Written by
Ron Kerrigan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
TCM screened this film recently and it was worth staying up past my bedtime to watch it. The film can be summed up in two words: Charles Coburn. He is magnificent as the perpetually inebriated yet good natured great grandfather. His dialogue is top notch and he delivers it to the hilt, at times funny, and others poignant. Dean Stockwell as the young boy is always interesting to watch, as are Jessica Tandy and Hume Cronyn. Fans of old films will recognize many stock players as well: the mother here is also the mother in The Fighting Sullivans and the school master turns up years later as the impresario for the Von Trapp children in the Sound of Music. It's fun to see him so young. The movie has a lot of the Goodbye Mr. Chips qualities I love in film. And keep your ears open and you'll hear strains of similar music from The Wizard of Oz - letting you know it's an MGM production. Throw in a bit of Charles Dicken's Oliver Twist and you've got a fine movie. I won't give any more away.
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