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In a lower-class London community of small shops, open-air vendors and flea-marketers, Joe, a small boy, lives with his mother, Joanne, who works in and rooms above the Kandinsky tailor shop. Joe is innocently and earnestly determined to help realize the wishes of his poor, hard-working neighbours. Hearing from Mr. Kandinsky the tale that a captured unicorn will grant any wish, Joe uses his accumulated pocket change to buy a kid with an emerging horn, believing it to be a unicorn. His subsequent efforts to make dreams come true exemplify the power of hope and will amidst hardship. Written by
Eric Wees <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Seeing this film for the first time today, the first thing you notice is just how vibrant the colours are and just how unsuited to colour the film is. Black-and-white might have given the film an edge; colour only makes it look like a sub-Runyon yarn. It's set in London's East End and is certainly full of Runyonesque characters, this time courtesy of Wolf Mankowitz. The next thing you notice is just how terrible it is and how terribly miscast it is.
Who, apart perhaps from Carol Reed, could have envisaged marble-mouthed Celia Johnson as a working-class East End mother? Is it any wonder her toffee-nosed brat of a boy, (Jonathan Ashmore, never heard of again), talks as if he's been taking elocution lessons. Then there's Joe Robinson, the most Runyonesque character of all, another improbably polite strongman engaged to Diana Dors, (not bad, considering). And no East End movie of the period would be complete without David Kossoff as a Yiddish tailor, (did he come out of the womb talking and looking like that?).
It's about Ashborne buying a young goat with a single horn which he believes is a unicorn. It's meant to be heart-warming. We are supposed to love the child and his goat. I wanted to skin them alive. The film is hardly ever revived. Even Carol Reed retrospectives tend to ignore it. Now I know why.
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