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 <email@example.com>
Although the film was passed by the British Board of Film Censors with a 'U' certificate on November 26th, 1948, the UK release was, for some reason, held back until June 19th, 1950. See more »
When the barber is preparing to cut his hair, a close-up shot shows a chunk of cut hair on his right side. Then when the barber begins cutting, it's not there. But re-appears for the next close-up of him crying. See more »
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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