Based on the classic children's novel by John Masefield, the story follows the exploits of a young boy, Kay Harker, who finds himself drawn into a world of magic and danger when he encounters an old Punch and Judy man.
-This has been one of my favorite Christmas movies since I ran across it on the PBS "Wonder Works" series almost two decades ago. I was fortunate enough to have taped it at the time and I've watched it every Christmas since!
Devin Stansfield is Kay Harker, a young Briton from an affluent family who is travelling by train to spend the Christmas holiday with relatives. Taking a nap in an empty compartment, he unexpectedly finds himself in the company of two apparent clergymen (Jonathan Stevens & Geoffrey Larder) who cheat him out of a shilling and then steal his wallet! Appearances continue to prove deceiving as an old tramp (Patrick Troughton) turns out to be the ancient alchemist Raymond Lully, and Kay plunges into a wonderful adventure of magic and mystery.
The acting (mostly perfect) is occasionally a little wooden, and the special effects are a tribute to the demands a limited budget makes on the imagination. However the cinematography is superb and the screenplay does justice to the rich novel by Mansfield. The plot is excellent and the story taps a rich vein of English mythology.
- If you want to get in the Christmas spirit then watch this in the run up to Christmas every year, now it is out on DVD i will be! I loved the book and used to read it on the train home from work every year just before Christmas, Kay and Cole Hawlings are such wonderful characters, the whole story is a classic tale of magic, wonder, fantasy and a bit of danger, set amongst snow covered country fields with hidden camps, and upper class children who have buttered eggs for supper! I think that the fact the children are slightly upper class makes the whole movie more nostalgic and old fashioned, the setting in the British countryside is just perfect and when you hear that 'the Wolves are running' you actually feel a bit scared! I think this has to be one of the best magical, memorable fantasy story's ever written and will never go out of fashion, it will always remind us of old fashioned Christmas traditions, the innocence of being a child and everything that is magical and comforting that we sometimes lose touch with when we grow up!!
Stars:Devin Stanfield, Robert Stephens and Geoffrey Larder