A gang of street boys foil a master crook who sends commands for robberies by cunningly altering a comic strip's wording each week, unknown to writer and printer. The first of the Ealing ... See full summary »
A mixture of a psychological study of a ten-year-old boy, an English domestic comedy and a satire on psychologists finds young Johnny Brent, the only child of a pair of psychologists, trading an "invisible watch" to a much-younger child for a large magnet. His nurse/nanny accuses him of stealing and scolds him and he runs away. He soon convinces himself that the police are after him and following several unsuccessful attempts to get rid of the magnet, he presents it to an organizer of a fund-raising campaign for acquiring an iron-lung for the local hospital. The magnet is one of the auction items and finally is mounted on the iron-lung as a tribute to the unknown donor. Meanwhile, the father makes a completely inaccurate diagnosis for the mother of the boy's worries. In the end the boy meets the child he thought had died as a result of losing the magnet, and trades the boy back for the return of his "invisible watch" the gold medal the town mayor had given him for his part in the ... Written by
Les Adams <email@example.com>
At the time of the film's release, James Robertson Justice was standing for Parliament as a Labour candidate in Angus and Kincardine. This is was the reason for his choice of a pseudonym when appearing in this film. See more »
Near the start of the film, Johnny chalks a diamond shape on a gatepost. When a tramp appears moments later, the diamond is lower down and the corners are much sharper. See more »
English films from right after the war particularly those from Ealing or Archers are a pretty interesting pocket to mine. Its a strange mix of experiments of all types. There's no predictability, no massive copying. Its as if everything is reset in a cultural medium and tastes need to be rediscovered or even reinvented.
This story as two elements. One is a story about a boy in a boy's clever world of invention and exploration. That's the bits you are meant to see. The other is overtly symbolic: his father is a clinical psychologist who has a need to "explain things." The story is about the hunger of certain stories, one would almost say the attraction or magnetism of stories, and that can be the only reason why the possession that triggers the story-story is a magnet.
What happens here is an ordinary episode triggers several fantastic stories, all of them with lives of their own as they adapt to live and propagate. There's extreme attention to symbols as if it were written by the psychologist: iron lungs, remote alarms, "secret" sign language, an invisible watch.
The story itself has minor charms. Its the loading of the overt symbols that is the fun part, especially since the writer seems to be poking fun at the notion of symbols the whole time.
Ted's Evaluation -- 2 of 3: Has some interesting elements.
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