After her parents are killed in a plane crash over the Grand Canyon, Melanie, a teenager girl and her younger brother and sister are sent to London to live with their uncle, Philip. There, ...
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Saxophonist Danny witnesses the murder of his band manager and a deaf-mute girl after a gig. Questioned by the police, he remembers only the orthopedic shoes of the killers' leader. So ... See full summary »
After her parents are killed in a plane crash over the Grand Canyon, Melanie, a teenager girl and her younger brother and sister are sent to London to live with their uncle, Philip. There, she meets his mute wife Margaret, who is mistreated by and terrified of her husband and only converses through notes. She also meets Margaret's younger brothers Francie, a fiddler, and the rakish Finn. Her uncle is a toy maker, secretly has the power to make his toys come to life, but he also maintains dictatorial control over his family and intends to exercise the same control over the new arrival. Soon Finn and Melanie grow closer. Philip drafts Melanie to perform with the puppets because Finn is not good enough. He assigns Finn to teach Melanie how to act on stage for the future show. However, the play is not successful, and in a rage, Philip slaps Melanie and accuses her of ruining his show.Written by
Other users here at IMDb seem to have a hard time locating this film, leading to talk of it having been suppressed. The reason The Magic Toyshop has become (unfairly) obscure is simply because it was screened on British television before having any major theatrical release. Technically it's a TV movie, made by the Granada network (not the BBC), and it has suffered the same fate as many British television movies of the 70's and 80's. Thankfully this film was released by Palace video in the UK - I located a copy and have now archived mine to DVD.
Caroline Milmoe was not underage when the film was made - she was 23 years old, playing a 15 year old. It is true that the nude scenes present a minor through a grown woman, and that is one of the central themes of the film - the sexual element itself is disturbingly grim.
The whole film has a unworldly sheen and inhabits magical realism long before it became fashionably known as such. Watch the camera track the parrot's gaze to get an idea of the sheer level of invention and ingenuity. And Milmoe really knows how to torment those braids...
This is one of the best films of the 1980's, and certainly the best film I have ever seen about childhood's end. I don't mind it being obscure because that lends it cult status, but I feel unhappy for the cast, particularly Caroline Milmoe, as this film is the top of their art and that deserves a wider audience.
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