Patty Bergen is a teenager in a Jewish family living in the American South during World War II. Patty feels like an outcast even in her own family and is unable to understand why her father can't seem to love her. Her town eventually becomes host to a prisoner of war camp. A young german soldier escapes from this camp, and Patty finds him hiding in her secret places in the woods outside of town. After getting to know him she ends up harboring him from his captors, and, in the way of many adolescents, falls in love with him. Patty knows what she is risking to help him, but in his company she feels important, special, and respected as she has never been. In the end, his regard lifts her self-esteem and helps her to face the heartbreaking events to come. Written by
[after finding out Patty is Jewish]
You are Jew, little girl! I am a soldier of the Third Reich; we are enemies, you and I!
Don't you like me, Anton?
I knew you did, right from the first. I knew right then we could be the best of friends. Formidable friends.
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A touching story told with tenderness: awkward young Jewish girl in WWII America befriends an escaped German POW who is hiding out in her clubhouse. They discuss their lives and beliefs (he's anti-Hitler), she sneaks him food, he becomes her only friend and ally. All this reminded me of the much-better theatrical film "Whistle Down The Wind", where Hayley Mills befriends convict Alan Bates, but you certainly can't fault the direction here, which is smooth, or the performances, which are sterling. Mature in her pre-teen years, Kristy McNichol carries most of the picture and never hits a false note. Suddenly, when the prisoner is discovered (and Kristy is found out as well), the movie gets very tough. Her father, shocked and ashamed that his child would consort with "that Nazi", lays into her with a quiet fury I have seldom seen before (he tells her "You are dead to me," which must be devastating for a little girl to hear). The final scenes don't cop out; there are no big reunions, no hand-holding climaxes. The girl has to face the world, and in doing so learns a bitter lesson about neighbors, friends, and family. A startling film.
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