|Index||2 reviews in total|
A cheaply made b&w post-War British family film, revolving around 11 yo
William Brown, his long-suffering family and his Outlaw gang. Not a lot
of money was wasted here, there's whole stretches of silent movie -
especially noticeable at the climax where the frenetic action and tense
music tries to disguise the fact no-one speaks for 10 minutes.
The Outlaws see themselves as Nites of the Square Table Wrighting Rongs - sort of quasi-Quixotic - and after an hour of adventures with local luminaries such as a glamorous film star and an erudite tramp get involved with a gang of fur smugglers. The book by Richmal Crompton followed later with Val Guest's screenplay being rewritten in places to tighten up on characterisation slippage. But basically William's World is intact and Garry Marsh for my money was the best Mr. Brown ever, even if a little bit too bald. William Graham as William himself was in character - pity about his gang of hair though!
A nice film for fans but not much here for people who've never read a William story.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
A relic from the long - gone era when childhood was consonant with innocence and wide - eyed wonder rather than gangs and drive - by shootings,"Just William's Luck" strikes a particular chord with me.When I was about 10 years old I was forced to enter a Fancy Dress competition as William Brown by my mother who had obviously modelled herself on Violet-Elizabeth Bott's mum,an unfortunate child forced to act out her parent's ambition.Unfortunately none of the good burghers of Guildford who had so kindly given up their time to judge the Best Root Vegetable as well as the Fancy Dress had any idea who I was supposed to be,I was just another scruffy horrible little boy with untidy hair and muddy knees.As an act of desperation mother hung a placard round my neck with "Just William" hurriedly scrawled on it ,but a little boy dressed as a television set (I'd seen a picture of one in the "Radio Times") had already caught the judges' eyes.As a victim of such pre-pubertal embarrassment I might quite justifiably have hated Richmal Crompton and all her works,but such was my devotion to William and the outlaws that it merely reinforced my determination to maintain a William-like dignity in all difficulties(so much more manly than most of my chums who had to be content with whistling). Here was a role - model any boy in the 1940s could identify with. He had loving but uncomprehending parents and two older siblings who he treated with genial contempt.He lived in a strange England populated largely by gentlemen of the road,fat balding policemen,park keepers, gardeners,servant girls and Foreigners,Bolshevists and their ilk. Each of his adventures generally involved one or more from that list. As often as not a grateful adult would force a silver coin or two into his grubby hand as a result of his earnest machinations. He translated well to the screen and "Just William's Luck" is a very good children's movie with some splendid performances,particularly by Gary Marsh as Mr Brown and A.E. Matthews as a tramp.I had a painful crush on Patricia Cutts that lasted well into my teens.Years later I was saddened to hear that she had died at the early age of 48. William's true heyday was the 1930s,sister Ethel a late-blooming flapper brother Robert flirting with daringly left politics.The Browns were a solidly middle-class family,comfortably well-off and blissfully unaware that bad times were just around the corner.Let's leave them with their charabancs,concert parties,quiet country roads whose peace is only disturbed by the snoring of sleeping tramps and the rattling wheels of a gypsies' caravan,mysterious and exciting.The Brave New World that was to overtake them only too quickly had few such innocent pleasures.
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