Hand in Hand (1961)
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I was so enthralled by the film that I talked my father into taking me to see it again, so I could take notes on it! I wrote down the events in the plot as they transpired on the screen. What I can remember about the film now is the feeling that it captured perfectly the emotion of love as a child experiences it.
I have always wanted to see this film again, but it never plays on television or in art house theaters. It would be my number one candidate for the honor of "Lost Treasure." I would love to see this film released on DVD and video.
I first saw Hand in Hand when I was a child in the 1960's and I remember being so moved by the children reaching out to one another despite the prejudice that surrounded them, and learning crucial lessons about God's love. The film is clever in that the prejudices are not stated overtly, but are more subtle (i.e. the mother of the little Catholic boy saying to her husband about Rachel, the little girl, "You wouldn't think she was Jewish, would you?"). Other things that strike me about this 1960 film are that 1) Michael the little boy says to an adult that their parents will not be worried about them as long as they are home before dark. Today you can't let your children out of your sight for 15 minutes, much less an entire day! and 2) Michael goes running to his priest for comfort and understanding and not his parents, and throws himself into the priest's arms! In today's world, with today's headlines of abuse, parents would not be comfortable with that action either! How the world has changed since 1960, and not for the better.
I would recommend that this film be made more available to families with young children. If they can see it before age 10 it will leave an indelible impression. I have an excellent digital transfer of this film in my collection, with none of the defects that are seen in that crummy bootleg tape that's floating around the internet. It makes all the difference in the world to see a nice print.
This is a film I love to show to my own children on a regular basis, to help them understand that God is love, not hate. I have wonderful memories of my parents renting this 16 mm film again and again from the local library in the 1960's when I was growing up. They would show it for the children in the neighborhood, who all came from different religious backgrounds. It was always a favorite and now is a favorite in my own library of films.
I remember Rachel and Michael (Loretta Parry and Philip Needs). Even though the film was probably 7 or 8 years old when I first saw the movie on TV, I can relate to them as a child. Perhaps because of how they were raised and the different religions they were taught, the children were a bit suspicious but after a while they got to know each other. What still gets to me after so many years is how misunderstanding and seeing people just as what their were raised can get in the way of seeing others as human beings.
There is a sense of curiosity and wonder getting to know someone who was raised from a different religion and that curiosity begets friendship and, ultimately, understanding. As directed by Philip Leacock (who would later direct numerous TV shows including Route 66, Gunsmoke and The Waltons) and written by Diana Morgan (from a story by Sidney Harmon), Hand in Hand is a sensitive and powerful film.
I am not a fan of remaking great films. But consider the state of religion in the U.S. and the world and how many conflicts occur for the sake of religion. With the right screenwriter, director and cast, I think Hand in Hand could be adapted to the current day. Until then, I concur with others on releasing this wonderful film on DVD.
The photo I have shows the girl and boy kneeling and praying together in a church pew. Cany anyone give a more detailed synopsis of the film? I haven't see it since about 1966. I am almost 54 years old and this remains one of the most influential films of my whole life.
I remember searching the Saturday TV listings for years -- probably until I was in my late-teens -- hoping it would be on just one more time!! I saw the film several times, between the ages of 5 and 10, and it is the earliest movie I clearly remember seeing. As I read through some of the other comments, I found myself flashing back to it and seeing it unfold again.
The scenes I remember most vividly are those in which the children encounter "Holy Mystery" in the rituals each of them practice. I was moved by the reverence, by the awareness engendered in me that the Divine is not the property of any one faith tradition, but contains them all and is the Source of them all. This is a film that molded me in a way that no other ever has. I wish everyone could see it, especially at a young age, when hearts are most open to truth, and not yet jaded by the cynicism that the world, including religious institutions, dumps on people.
My answer was "Hand in Hand."
Most of the images in the movie have faded from my memory, save a few. One in particular was the moment when the boy goes to visit the synagogue and the star of David on the side of the building just jumps out at him. You can imagine the impact that it has on him, having been raised in a strict Roman Catholic environment with a crucifix as the dominant symbol.
As a little bit of trivia, in the 60's, I had heard that Orson Welles had a small, uncredited, cameo appearance in this movie. The shot was a long one, taken from the rear of the church with Welles as a priest at the altar with his back to the camera. I have never been able to confirm this. His filmography in this data base doesn't mention it, nor does the writeup on the film itself.
Trivia aside, this is an excellent movie and, although I have seen it only once, it remains one of the cinematic highlights of my life. I don't think that it has ever played in a movie theatre near me since its initial run, much to my disappointment.
Interesting that the cantor and priest characters played by Martin Lawrence and John Gregson have learned to respect each other's diversity. The kids learn that too just by simply being around each other.
I still love this film because Needs and Parry act like real kids instead of child actor celebrities. You don't they're acting at all, you think you're just watching from a window on their lives.
This film ought to be required viewing in grade school classes teaching tolerance, respect, and diversity. The message hasn't lessened any over the years.
I'm a middle aged man but can remember vividly the effect this movie had upon me. And to this day, it is still with me, as vividly as the moment I first watched it. I also see I'm not alone in the way it touched me and am not ashamed to say I'm moved to tears at having finally discovered the name of this jewel of a movie. I am SO grateful to finally know it's name.
Many of my thoughts on this film are cloudy. Some are trapped in another time and place. Maybe even completely wrong. In any case, let me throw some out there and see if any stick. In modern day England, a Catholic boy and a Jewish girl develop a friendship despite opposition from their elders. Angry and confused, they head off--like Huckleberry Finn--on a dangerous trek down a river in some type of raft. The raft tips over and dumps them into the water. The movie is cloaked in flashbacks. The scenes which remain vivid in my memory involve the parallel visits the children make to each others houses of worship. Out of respect, the boy wears a Yamulka to the Synagogue. And to return the favor, the girl drapes a white handkerchief over her hair in the Catholic Church. I do recall the girl being frightened by the "Stations of the Cross." But she comes around when she spots a statue of Mary. Their initial meeting is also sketchy in my mind. I think some kind of schoolyard activity brought them together: perhaps some bullying by another boy toward the girl. And the ending is up in the air. I think it ended happily. But I'm simply not sure. This movie needs to be released on DVD. Why the hold up?
If so, could somebody PLEASE tell me how the film ended? I recall watching it (clears throat) years ago but missed the ending. As I recall the boat capsized, and the boy ran for help thinking he'd killed his friend. The scene of him running down the street was also how the film began and the rest was in flashback.
I've never seen the film again and not knowing how it ended has bugged me for nearly 40 years.