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The Boy with Green Hair (1948)

6.9
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 1,606 users  
Reviews: 49 user | 27 critic

This parable looks at public reaction when the hair of an American war orphan mysteriously turns green.

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(screen play), (screen play), 1 more credit »
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Title: The Boy with Green Hair (1948)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Gramp Fry
...
Dr. Evans
...
Miss Brand
...
Peter Fry
Richard Lyon ...
Michael
Walter Catlett ...
The King
Samuel S. Hinds ...
Dr. Knudson
...
Mr. Davis
Charles Meredith ...
Mr. Piper
...
Barber
Billy Sheffield ...
Red
Johnny Calkins ...
Danny (as John Calkins)
Teddy Infuhr ...
Timmy
...
Joey
Eilene Janssen ...
Peggy
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Storyline

Peter Frye, typical American boy, is orphaned when his parents are caught in the London Blitz. He is not told of their fate, but shuttled from one selfish relative to the next, ending with "Gramp," a kindly ex-vaudevillean. Peter and Gramp, both fond of "Irish bulls," get along fine; but the morning after Peter finally learns he's an orphan, his hair spontaneously turns green! The absurd over-reactions of stupid people overturn his life as the story becomes a parable. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Please don't tell why his hair turned green!

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Family

Certificate:

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

16 November 1948 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Der Junge mit den grünen Haaren  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Both director Joseph Losey and screenwriter Ben Barzman were soon blacklisted. Both moved to the United Kingdom to escape McCarthyism and to be able to work in films again. See more »

Connections

Featured in Precious Images (1986) See more »

Soundtracks

Nature Boy
Written by Eden Ahbez
Sung behind credits by chorus
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User Reviews

A buried treasure, and a film ahead of its time
28 January 2000 | by (Cherry Hill, New Jersey) – See all my reviews

It would be an obvious point to state that "The Boy with Green Hair" is one of the most touching fantasies ever put on film, for indeed it is that. But, over and above that, it's a movie which states that being different is all right. That and its pacifistic message made it a film very much ahead of its time and, thus, its reputation as a classic caught up with it over the years.

All of the performances are excellent. Dean Stockwell is probably best known to a later generation as the star of "Blue Velvet" and "Quantum Leap." But his best role came at the age of twelve with this film. In an understated yet powerful way, he's very believeable as the young war orphan, living with his grandfather, who is at first bewildered by his sudden change on hair color (Well, wouldn't YOU be?), but eventually comes to accept it and what it means, hoping his hair, which has been shaved off by superstitious townspeople, comes back green. Pat O'Brien, underplaying more than was usually his wont, gives a charming, yet insightful, performance as his kindly grandfather, a former vaudeville entertainer turned singing waiter. Robert Ryan, forsaking his usual villainous roles, is the child psychologist who helps Stockwell make sense of it all. And those who know Barbara hale primarily as either "Della Street" on the "Perry Mason" shows, the "Amana" lady, or William Katt's real-life mother, gives a brief but believable performance as Stockwell's sympathetic teacher.

Joseph Losey was the far-sighted director who brought all this to the screen. Unfortunately, the "dare to be different" and "give peace a chance" aspects of the story would work against him just a few years later, when he was blacklisted. All but unemployable in America, he continued his career in England, and the results, usually in collaboration with screenwriter Harold Pinter, were such critical, if not popular, successes, as "The Servant" and "The Go-Between."

In short, this an underseen film that deserves to be seen more often. These days it's frequently on AMC, so catch it.


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