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Based on the classic children's novel by John Masefield, the story follows the exploits of a young boy, Kay Harker, who finds himself drawn into a world of magic and danger when he encounters an old Punch and Judy man. Written by
This has been one of my favorite Christmas movies since I ran across it on the PBS "Wonder Works" series almost two decades ago. I was fortunate enough to have taped it at the time and I've watched it every Christmas since!
Devin Stansfield is Kay Harker, a young Briton from an affluent family who is travelling by train to spend the Christmas holiday with relatives. Taking a nap in an empty compartment, he unexpectedly finds himself in the company of two apparent clergymen (Jonathan Stevens & Geoffrey Larder) who cheat him out of a shilling and then steal his wallet! Appearances continue to prove deceiving as an old tramp (Patrick Troughton) turns out to be the ancient alchemist Raymond Lully, and Kay plunges into a wonderful adventure of magic and mystery.
The acting (mostly perfect) is occasionally a little wooden, and the special effects are a tribute to the demands a limited budget makes on the imagination. However the cinematography is superb and the screenplay does justice to the rich novel by Mansfield. The plot is excellent and the story taps a rich vein of English mythology.
It's unfortunate that this video is apparently only available from England, where it is only for sale in British video format - which is not compatible with U.S. machines! I hope that "The Box of Delights" will soon make its debut on DVD.
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