Peter Frye, typical American boy, is orphaned when his parents are caught in the London Blitz. He is not told of their fate, but shuttled from one selfish relative to the next, ending with "Gramp," a kindly ex-vaudevillean. Peter and Gramp, both fond of "Irish bulls," get along fine; but the morning after Peter finally learns he's an orphan, his hair spontaneously turns green! The absurd over-reactions of stupid people overturn his life as the story becomes a parable.Written by
Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Dean Stockwell was allergic to the green wig he had to wear in the movie, and became ill because of the allergy. See more »
When the barber is preparing to cut his hair, a close-up shot shows a chunk of cut hair on his right side. Then when the barber begins cutting, it's not there. But re-appears for the next close-up of him crying. See more »
As the film begins, young Dean Stockwell (as Peter Fry) is in a police station; obviously, the adults do not know where he belongs, or why his head is shaved bald. Robert Ryan (as Dr. Evans) gets young Stockwell to speak, after giving the hungry boy a hamburger. Stockwell tells his story: he was a war orphan, and was shuffled between relatives ("I sure lived in a lot of places"). Finally, he winds up with Pat O'Brien (as "Gramps"), a vaudeville-type actor. He and Mr. O'Brian form a relatively happy family. However, at school, Stockwell is teased, for being an orphan; specifically, he is told he resembles an "Unidentified War Orphan" depicted in a poster. That evening, O'Brien comforts Stockwell, and promises the next day will bring hope in the form of a surprise.
The surprise is, of course, that Stockwell becomes "The Boy with Green Hair". This is a very unusual film, particularly for the time period; it is both thought-provoking, and entertaining. Stockwell and O'Brien are wonderful. "Nature Boy" is a beautiful, and apt, theme song. Stockwell's meeting with the War Poster children is very well done - still, quiet, and effective. However, the themes of "peace" and "tolerance" could be better connected. And, there are some minor story difficulties; for example, the milkman couldn't possibly be responsible for the green hair, unless Stockwell is the only milk drinker in town (stipulating the townspeople, as a whole, are of average intelligence). Still, a lovely film about being different, which we all are.
******* The Boy with Green Hair (11/16/48) Joseph Losey ~ Dean Stockwell, Pat O'Brien, Robert Ryan
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