A rather undiplomatic British diplomat takes up his new post in Spain accompanied by his son Nicholas. The posting is something of a disappointment to the father, who was hoping for a ...
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A clever fortune-hunter with a penchant for murder does in his elderly, supposedly rich, wife and manages to get away with it. After an investigation results in a decision of 'accidental ... See full summary »
A rather undiplomatic British diplomat takes up his new post in Spain accompanied by his son Nicholas. The posting is something of a disappointment to the father, who was hoping for a promotion. That his wife had left him seems to have affected his career. Nicholas sees it all as something of an adventure and soon becomes fast friends with the new gardener, Jose. The apparently "delicate" Nicholas becomes attached to Jose, and father's jealousy leads him to bar Nicholas from even speaking to the gardener. As tensions mount, another servant frames Jose for theft forcing everyone to review the situation.Written by
DIRK BOGARDE gives one of his more restrained performances in the title role, a man whose friendship with a young boy (JON WHITELEY) drives a wedge between the boy and his over-protective father (MICHAEL HORDERN). It's the interplay between these three characters that drives the story and there are some melodramatic events before the happy ending.
But it takes its time in developing the characterizations, sags in the middle and then picks up again during the last half-hour when all the melodramatic conflicts have to be resolved.
Unfortunately, the TCM print shows murky color photography (especially after showing a dazzling print of BLACK NARCISSUS). Whether the film was shot in a process other than the usual British color I don't know, but the color photography was sometimes less than satisfying.
The story is one of friendship that the boy so badly needs when his father has too little time to share many activities with him. The bond between him and the Spanish gardener is based on mutual trust and the boy comes to hate his father when he realizes that he's been the cause of the man being jailed for a crime he didn't commit.
JON WHITELEY gives a remarkably natural performance for a child actor and his scenes with DIRK BOGARDE and MICHAEL HORDERN are excellently played.
There are problems of pacing that plague some parts of the film, but the last half is particularly absorbing and leads to a satisfying conclusion. Well worth watching.
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