The experiences of two young Jewish boys evacuated from Manchester to Blackpool during the Blitz.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Margery Withers ...
Grandma Miller
Ian East ...
Mr. Goldstone
...
Aubrey Edwards ...
Wilhelm Schwartz
Michael Marcus ...
Cyril Winkler
Paul Besterman ...
Sidney Zuckerman
Steven Serember ...
Neville Miller
Laurence Cohen ...
Merton
Ray Mort ...
Louis Miller
...
Sarah Miller
Bob West ...
Workman
Gwen Harris ...
First Housewife
Joyce Kennedy ...
Second Housewife
Marjorie Sudell ...
Third Housewife
Margery Mason ...
Mrs. Graham
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Storyline

The experiences of two young Jewish boys evacuated from Manchester to Blackpool during the Blitz.

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Drama | War

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5 March 1975 (UK)  »

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Did You Know?

Goofs

The map of Europe on the schoolroom wall shows Germany's post 1945 borders, i.e. the Oder-Neisse line, not those existing before or during WW2. See more »

Quotes

Sarah Miller: [Reading notes in the "Silly Story" game] She is very cruel to us!
[laughs, then serious]
Sarah Miller: She... she makes us polish everything in the house.
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Outstanding depiction of young people during WW2
19 January 2014 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

This was officially a BBC "Drama" but is to all intents and purposes, a film. Especially with Jack Rosenthal's involvement.

We are introduced to a group of Jewish boys from a working-class area of Manchester who, in the first year or so of the Second World War, are evacuated to Blackpool or St Annes. Their teacher, also Jewish, makes every effort to find all of them homes.

The lead characters of the film are the two Miller brothers, Neville and Danny, from a practising Jewish family. Neville, the elder, is starting to enter adolescence. Near the start of the film their grandmother, an émigrée from Eastern Europe, enters the classroom to protest against their being evacuated, only to be told it is just a drill. When the boys are eventually sent away her concerns are more muted, possibly because her own travels involved having to move hundreds of miles west with no possibility of return, especially after the rise of the Nazis - whereas the boys are only a train journey away and will probably come back.

The Miller boys are put up with a middle aged couple, and are badly treated from the outset. Their teacher had warned them they might not be able to keep kosher due to having to stay in non-Jewish households, however their host Mrs Graham steals food which their mother sends, that can be assumed to be kosher. We later learn that Mrs Graham does hold some feelings towards the boys, but only of a selfish nature that would involve requiring them to abandon their cultural and religious origins. In any event, Neville and Danny develop a deep dislike of Mrs Graham, and Danny is the more outspoken. Neville takes a more stoical approach.

We are shown two visits from Neville and Danny's mother, played by Maureen Lipman. On the first visit, their mother sees little to trouble her, notwithstanding a few hints from Danny. On the second, Danny lets her know in no uncertain terms how he and Neville have been treated, and she immediately takes them both home.

Throughout the film we see the development of the relationship between the brothers, of whom Danny - the younger - is clearly deeply thoughtful and analytical, and perceived by all his family to be a possible future Rabbi.

As a resident of Lytham St Annes for most of my life, this film means a lot to me. I recognise many of the filming locations. For a time I lived between the footbridge and the Graham household which are only about 100m apart and the house I lived in is shown in one of the scenes. This is by no means a cause for pride, because my own landlady was made in the same mould as Mrs Graham, and could well have been her daughter.

Some of the other locations no longer exist, such as the former St John's School on Warton Street - rebuilt in another part of Lytham - and the Floral Hall on St Annes pier, destroyed by fire just after the film was made.

The film is based in fact, as many Manchester children were evacuated to Lytham St Annes, and faced the same snobbery and other prejudice depicted in the film.

My only criticism of the film is that some of the other characters, such as Zuckerman ("Zucky") are not seen as often as they could have been.

All in all, this film needs more recognition both as a part of British heritage and specific working-class Jewish heritage. If you manage to get to see it, you will not have wasted an hour and a bit if you watch it from start to end.


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