Monday, March 14, 2011

A Boy Ten Feet Tall

Alexander Mackendrick, 1963 (8.6*)

aka Sammy Going South (the novel and original film title)
A young British boy living in Port Said, Egypt, played by Fergus McClelland, narrowly escapes a bomb from an air raid during the 56 Suez crisis that destroys his apartment block, killing both his parents. With little alternative, he decides he has to travel (on foot and any other way he can) to Durban, South Africa, to be his only remaining living relative, an aunt. During his 4500 mile journey from north to south africa, which mirrors his transition from boy to man, he experiences firsthand the varied cultures of the dark continent, such as the slave trading, animal poaching, and criminal smugglers.

One smugller he meets along the way is Edward G. Robinson, in one of his last film roles (Cincinatti Kid followed in 65) as a man who takes the kid under his wing, saves his life, and adds to his self-confidence as he makes his way down the continent. This was a perfect chance for the academy to give Robinson his first Oscar® nomination and first win; it's hard to believe he was never even nominated.

This was very inspirational to me as a kid of 12 when it came out, and features some stunning views of colonial Africa. It's hard to believe that it's not on dvd in the U.S. (just a PAL version in England under it's original title), and that only 213 people (now 214) have voted for it at IMDB, with an average rating of 6.9 - this is a much better children's film than 95% of the G-rated animated pablum being produced nowdays.


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Artist, photographer, composer, author, blogger, metaphysician, herbalist

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These are the individual film reviews of what I'm considering the best 1000 dvds available, whether they are films, miniseries, or live concerts. Rather than rush out all 1000 at once, I'm doing them over time to allow inclusion of new releases - in fact, 2008 has the most of any year so far, 30 titles in all; that was a very good year for films, one of the best ever.

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