Welcome to this blog of my film reviews. Some have been drafted carefully on paper, others I have sat and typed. I'm going to make it clear right now that I don't expect you to agree with my (re)views, or to like my style of writing. However, I want my views to be just out there and open, as a person who wishes to express himself from deep within. Feel free to comment and debate with me, but I do ask that you are civil and not harsh, as any comments which are basically swear words and insults will automatically be deleted. Also any text that is in orange (and often bold) is a Hyperlink to either a source, or a previous post for background reference.
Sunday, 11 September 2011
After several years of trying to teach their deaf-mute daughter Mandy (Mandy Miller) to communicate, Christine (Phyllis Calvert) and Harry (Terence Morgan) enrol her into a special education establishment in the hope they will be able to break the communication barrier.
Throughout this film is a sensitive depiction of the emotional struggles of a deaf child, unable to understand why she can't communicate, and unable to understand the people around her. In several scenes we see the narrative from Mandy's perspective, with all background sounds and surrounding dialogue muted, and it is quite hard-hitting to think that this was how the world seemed to so many people, in the days before modern methods to overcome this obstacle were introduced, and generates a generally moving emotional response.
The emotional struggles are depicted most though through the best performance in the film, which comes from Miller, who was aged just seven when she filmed. With no dialogue, Miller conveys all of Mandy's fears and anxieties felt for a world she can't connect with at all through her facial expressions, which display her upset and fears perfectly, without overdoing them, or understating them, in what is truly a remarkable performance.
Miller is well supported by some sensitive performances from a strong cast of adults, though the most memorable are Calvert and Morgan, who play a wonderful contrast in characters, Calvert playing the emotionally strained yet determined mother, and Morgan the insensitive father, with the two actors playing the contrast perfectly and portraying true tension between the two characters very well.
An altogether sensitive drama, this film comes as a huge surprise to all who watch Ealing films, as it is a huge contrast to the comedies that Director Alexander Mackendrick made - e.g. Whisky Galore! (1949) and The Ladykillers (1955).
Stars: Mandy Miller, Phyllis Calvert, Terence Morgan, Jack Hawkins, Godfrey Tearle, Dorothy Alison, Marjorie Fielding, Nancy Price, Edward Chapman, Patricia Plunkett, Eleanor Summerfield, Colin Gordon, Julian Amyes, Jane Asher, John Cazabon, Gabrielle Brune.
BAFTA nominations: Best Film, Best British Film, Best British Actor (Jack Hawkins), Best British Actress (Phyllis Calvert), Most Promising Newcomer to Film (Mandy Miller), Most Promising Newcomer to Film (Dorothy Alison).