When a child nearly drowns his friends decide to start a local lifesaving and surf rescue club. They first have to raise the money for a surf boat but there's some prize money at a local ...
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When a child nearly drowns his friends decide to start a local lifesaving and surf rescue club. They first have to raise the money for a surf boat but there's some prize money at a local race. Then their enemies vandalise their boat. It's just one trauma after another.Written by
Steve Crook <email@example.com>
Between 1971 and 1975, on any given rain-sodden Friday afternoon (and there were many of them), when it seemed just too cruel to send a herd of under 12s outside to chase a lace-up football around a field, the teacher taking games would announce to us, "OK kids, you're staying in and watching The Bungala Boys." I must have watched it a dozen times, but the thrill of seeing it never seemed to pale. There we were on a grey, wet winters afternoon in London staring at what seemed to be a sun-soaked slice of paradise.
The school only possessed one film that wasn't a documentary about rubber production or human biology, and The Bungala Boys was it. It was the Emergency-Keep-The-Kids-Occupied film, and you only really needed one, it was really the excitement engendered by a change of routine that kept us transfixed on the flickering image; it didn't matter that it was always the same film. Maybe though, the teachers were more canny than that - what better film to show 40 children from a grim council estate on a miserable wet afternoon than one set in an Australian surfing community (I seem to recall that the plot involves skullduggery in a life-saving competition).
For years I thought that the Bungala Boys had to be a famous piece of Australian cinema, but in adulthood every Australian I met looked perplexed when I mentioned it. It was a CFF production and so maybe it was never even shown in Australia... all along it was simply intended as a way to cheer up the rained-in school children of Britain.
I haven't seen it since the age of 11 so I can't really say whether it's even a good children's film (I have a feeling it's not bad... for its day), but it will definitely always have a special, sun-kissed, brightly-coloured place in my film-watching heart.
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