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I saw this film on PBS when I was a kid and it stuck in my memory, such that when I came across it in my local video store I rented it immediately. It's not in any sense a realistic story, and it's really ham-fisted with the moral, but I found it sweet and entertaining. Polly Holiday's performance as Konrad's hapless hippie mom is especially natural and memorable. Although it's definitely a kid's movie, I still find it to be more creative and amusing than the vast majority of children's television that's coming out today. Watch it with a child!
If your family is old fashioned & likes ENTERTAINMENT, this is a very
good movie for a family to watch! What I mean is that there is NO "Blood
and guts", Just clean FUN!
Konrad (Huckleberry Fox) a brand new 8 yeard old boy, fresh out of a can, PERFECT IN EVERY WAY, and supposed to remain as such. However, he is accidentally delivered to Bertie (Polly Holliday), who is far from "perfect". Together with Mr. Thomas (Ned Beatty), and a few unexpected friends, they fight for Konrad's right to be normal!!!!!
WonderWorks was an amazing series on PBS, incredible family movies week
after week. Fortunately, this came around about the time my kids were
at the age to appreciate it, so I'm glad they got to see it. (Without
kids, I might not have discovered it, either.)
http://www.everything2.com/index.pl?node_id=1241895 (Article about WonderWorks)
Konrad was one of the best episodes of the series. An absolutely delightful little movie, with some of the best actors.
Of the many WonderWorks episodes, I can only remember one we enjoyed more, and that was Anne of Green Gables, a multi-week miniseries that may be the single best family movie ever made.
It would be fun to find these individual films (we own Anne on VHS) and put the whole WonderWorks series back together.
Saw this for the first time when I was about five. I immediately fell in love with it. The idea was cute, and and funny. Plus, I like quoting it "Bartelotti, Bartelotti!" I've watched it several times over the years since I saw it, and i'll probably buy it from amazon soon. I'm surprised I haven't already.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I bought this DVD as I read on IMDb that this is a remake of the German
movie "Konrad oder das Kind aus der Konservendose". It was made only
two years after the original movie. Well, we know that it is a bad
American habit to make very early remakes, once they find an
interesting European story, and prevent their own audiences from seeing
the original. Technically this DVD is well made, the quality is good.
The actors, including the child actor playing Konrad, are also good
standard what you would expect on TV. In fact it is like a typical
American daily soap, no more, no less. I know from my experience as a
language teacher, that it is sometimes difficult, to translate humour,
but the movie-makers could have tried harder! The German original is
much funnier. You should also compare this movie to the original book
by Austrian author Christine Noestlinger.
>>>SPOILER<<<: One scene near the end really puzzled me: in the American remake, Konrad is taken back to the factory and has to be freed by his new friends. There is an Orwellian scenery slightly reminding of "1984", on a simpler basis though. But what has that scene to do with Noestlinger's story? >>>SPOILER END<<<
She never intended to write a chilling utopian novel but a funny, witty children's story about friendship, parents and their problems, etc. So at this point the American film loses points. I cannot recommend this movie.
In 1985 the charming child actor Huckleberry Fox starred in two TV
movies: 'The Blue Yonder' and this. After 'Misunderstood' in the year
before, Huckleberry Fox starred in another remake of an older film
again with this one. This one is the remake of a German 1983 movie
titled 'Konrad oder Das Kind aus der Konservenbüchse'. I never saw that
one but I can predict it as the better version.
'Konrad' is a quite juvenile 80's movie. It's not a great movie and certainly not "realistic", but there are elements of sweetness in it such as: Konrad coming out of a can so smiling and radiant, the immediate chemistry that develops between him and his "adoptive parents", Konrad's "perfection" (so much that he feels sad and guilty if he commits any mistake at all), the fight of the "adoptive parents" to bring him back home sweet home.
I found elements in common with 'D.A.R.Y.L.' (also from 1985): both are about a perfect robot-child who are so human-like in looks and personality and find a loving family and are brought back to their respective manufacturing places and face the challenge of escaping and returning to their beloved family.
Konrad was never meant to be delivered to Berti, but it is this mistake that brings new joy of life to this old woman.
Ned Beatty is great as Mr. Thomas, but Polly Holliday and cute as a button Huckleberry Fox are excellent as Berti and Konrad, respectively.
Meet Konrad, a loveable little boy played by adorably-named Huckleberry
He's a genetically-engineered "Instant Child", mass-produced in a
brainwashed by oppressive "trainers" to become docile, loyal, and
to elders, then vacuum-sealed in a pop-top can for ease of storage and
delivery. So what happens when eccentric rug-maker Berti Bartelotti
Holiday) gets him by mistake? Report such flagrant human-rights
to Amnesty International? Bring this fiasco to the attention of the
paranoid media? Oh no, of course not. Won over by his ingrained
she keeps little Konrad as her very own, while she and her boyfriend,
only as "Mr. Thomas" (Ned Beatty), haggle over the right to dote upon him
like he was some sort of toy they were sharing. Meanwhile, the factory
owner, Dr. Monford (played by Max Wright of ALF fame), is upset that
got accidentally placed in an unfit environment (since Berti and Mr.
are [gasp!] living in sin) and sends his elite cadre of bumbling security
guards to "recall" and "recycle" their perfect child. This child is
so perfect that he has grand mal seizures of anxiety whenever he makes the
smallest mistake and is regularly pantsed around the playground by bullies
with no special programming. The hilarity ensues as our heroes track down
the kidnapped Konrad to the "factory", a dystopian monochromatic "1984
Elementary School" where perfect Aryan children march double-file down the
halls, and a loudspeaker announces, to the shock of all kids watching,
"Halloween has been cancelled." Needless to say, after the spell-binding
thrill-a-minute climax, everyone goes away happy and realizes that it's
to be less-than-perfect even if you are a dysfunctional abused clone.
Fairly good production values and quirky acting make this PBS/Wonderworks
special a great family movie. Or is it?
This was one of my favorite movies growing up when I thought it was far more chilling and dystopian than it really was. The scene with Konrad lying desiccated in the can after being opened haunts me 17 years later. However, coming back to it as an adult, I realize just how juvenile the premise really is. In this story, cloning isn't morally wrong, nor is eugenics, child abuse, imprisonment, cryogenics without consent or slavery. Konrad is not a human being, he's "another one of those fads of yours" and "a miracle of genetic engineering," as Mr. Thomas states. And how are these children constructed? Are they normal, yet enhanced human beings (like Star Trek's Khan) or are they designed to stay adorable 8-year-olds forever, their growth forever stunted like that of toy dogs? In that case, Dr. Monford is right in recalling Konrad from his chaotic surroundings. A child like him would be unable to function in the outside world and be subject to countless health problems, just like a toy poodle or a Shar-Pei. He would be so dependent on his controlled lifestyle that he would need a home where he and his environment could be constantly monitored. To be such a being, a living plaything at the disposal of the decadent elite, would be very depressing indeed. But yet the factory children wave their dimpled smiles as millions of normal babies are born and die waiting to be adopted. Indeed this is a great movie for children... if you want to teach them that their worth as a human being is calculated only by their value in the consumer marketplace. If you want to watch this movie done right, watch Little Man Tate, Gattaca, Star Trek II, or A.I. Oh heck, you can even watch Parts: The Clonus Horror.
I remember watching this movie many times when I was young! I always had to fast forward through the part when she first opens the tin because the dessicated body was too much for me as a young child. But I too first knew Max Wright from this movie than anywhere else! It's a very cute movie. I have even found that now that I am an adult, many of my mannerisms are the same as Bertie's...my house looks the same! I do have to warn small children away from that scene, though. The factory scenes may also be intense for young viewers. Highly recommended as a family movie, with perhaps some explanation for small children about adoption.
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