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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Well,on May 3rd,I finally got to see this film after hearing about it
here sometime ago. I'm afraid i'll have to disagree with the person
above about how bad it is. Without spoiling it for others,I have to say
that the idea the young boys have for honoring the memory of Alby's
grandfather,who had passed on a year before.
This by repairing his once great air balloon and hopefully getting it relaunched, was really very touching. It's a testament to how much a lost love one means to us before and after they are part of our lives.
Miss Hepburn's role is quite simple and humorous and allows these young male actors to be the main focus of the film. As they should be. She plays junk-dealing hermit Miss Pudd,a woman who has not seen or done much in her long life. Enter the 2 boys wanting to buy parts,only to end up receiving her help.
If one saw this as a kid long ago and was disappointed,I feel they owe it a second look. After seeing it,I now wish I'd seen it then in '78 at age 10. I would have loved it even more. Obvious in studio green screen shots & all! (Although...and I think it's my age talking) the boys'constant repeating of "For Pete's sake!" 10 times,got a bit overdone.)
Otherwise,I'd give it a perfect rating.
My children & I got to see it, and thoroughly enjoyed it. Katherine
Hepburn is marvelous, and the two kids are wonderful.
The scenes with the hot-air balloon are really fun to watch. The relationship between Ms. Hepburn's relationship with the young boys is touching as it grows.
The scenes over and in the Hollywood Bowl are great... I enjoyed the way the scenes were shot and staged.
My children, (boy & girl), loved the old car that Ms. Hepbrun drove, as well as the old English Sheepdog that was the boys' companion.
To top it off, the film boasts of a great music score!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
While Katherine Hepburn made some obscure theatrically released movies
in her time, they are of a mixed bag. 1956's "The Iron Petticoat" is a
cold war comedy so bad that even Kate refused to acknowledge it. 1973's
film version of "A Delicate Balance" is an artistic curiosity,
definitely for fans of Edward Albee but maybe not for fans of Kate and
Spencer. Then, there's "Olly Olly Oxen Free", a barely released
children's adventure tale where the great Kate takes on the challenge
of aiding some adorable kids in creating a hot air balloon which gets
lost and ends up in the most precarious of locations.
Kate is the only name in this film which didn't even get big screen releases in New York or Los Angeles and which many people have probably never heard of. It had a VHS release in the 1990's which had customers at the video store I worked at in shock because they hadn't been aware of its existence. What it turns out to be is a fun popcorn style movie that might seem ridiculous in plot, but enjoyable not only for her presence, but also the chemistry between her and the kids, the adventures they encounter, and a surprise ending that may have your eyes rolling in spite of the fact that you are entering it into your log of guilty pleasures.
Olly, Olly, Oxen Free finds Katharine Hepburn cast as an eccentric
spinster probably not too different from Kate the Great herself in real
life who befriends two boys and helps them on their project.
Quite the project it is too. One of the boys discovers an old balloon in with the family discards and finds out his grandfather who died the year before was an accomplished balloonist who used to entertain at aerial carnivals years ago and was billed as The Great Sandusky. Kevin McKenzie decides that the best tribute to grandfather is to float this balloon again and he and friend Dennis Dimster embark on the project.
Helping them along is Kate who is a spinster who runs a junkyard and who can't bear to sell her junk. But to give it away on an adventurous project like this, she's definitely down with that.
Kate Hepburn never did a film project that was strictly for children and she was a soul who'd try anything once. Olly, Olly, Oxen Free is a nice family film and it depends considerably on the personality of Kate Hepburn to sell the film.
For kids and fans of the great Kate.
As I was watching the eye-rolling "Olly, Olly, Oxen Free", I got the feeling that Katharine Hepburn felt uncomfortable in it. The role probably embarrassed her. It's just a big attempt to be cute, one that comes out irritating. The Pixar movie "Up" did a far better and cleverer job with the topic. I haven't seen all of Hepburn's movies, but I'll go out on a limb and say that this was probably her worst. To riff on the movie's tag-line, if this is what dreams are made of, then there are only nightmares. Having gotten released in the same year as "The Deer Hunter", "Coming Home", "Who'll Stop the Rain", "Animal House", "The Boys from Brazil", "Every Which Way But Loose" and "Superman" only further weakens the movie. Just avoid it.
This is the worst movie I remember watching as a kid. I can distinctly
recall the time my family hired this film on video, and me and my brother
begged my parents half-way through to PLEASE let us go outside and play
not have to watch this b-o-r-i-n-g story. They finally
I'm a bit regretful now that I know who classic actress Katherine Hepburn is, but I still rank this as the most ponderous children's story I've ever had to watch. It's the kind of movie that gives family films a bad name.
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