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British diplomat Harrington Brande takes up his new post in Spain accompanied by his son Nicholas. The posting is something of a disappointment to the elder Brande who was hoping for a promotion. That his wife had left him seems to have affected his career. Nicholas sees it all as something of an adventure and soon becomes fast friends with the new gardener, Jose. As Nicholas begins to spend more time with Jose, his father takes offense and is concerned at the boy's loss of affection for him, or so he perceives. It leads him to bar Nicholas from even speaking to the gardener. As tensions mount, another servant frames Jose for theft forcing everyone to review the situation. Written by
English boy loves, then loses, his Spanish gardener
Jon Whiteley stars as young Nicholas, a lonely and troubled English boy living on a Spanish estate with his cold father, played by Michael Hordern. Dad has money and power, but no time or attention for his son who is desperate for a male role model.
Dirk Bogarde stars as the gardener, who starts out caring for the plants then begins to care for Nicholas too.
This movie is based on the novel by the famous English physician, A. J. Cronin. How Green Was My Valley, with Roddy McDowell is another of his famous novels made into a movie, which also tells a boy's life story.
Nicholas becomes happy through the attention and caring of the gardener. But Dad is jealous of the influence of the hired help on his son. Yet the two have fun with simple things, like a fishing trip to the mountains.
The dark part of the movie is the father's use of power and influence to cruelly sever the relationship between the two. The loss of his son's happiness means nothing, power means all.
Contrast this movie to Captains Courageous, three movie versions available, by Rudyard Kipling. Here, a neglected boy finds love from a simple fish boat captain. This care and attention turns the boy into a proper man. Such is the power of love.
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