HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Annette
Shepherd
Dying to Divorce
Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn
Trouble with Being Born, The
Last Matinee, The
Strings, The
Free Hand for a Tough Cop
People Just Do Nothing: Big in Japan
Dear Future Children
Accidental Luxuriance of the Translucent Watery Rebus
Swallow
Thin Red Line, The
Petite Maman
Fast & Furious 9
Sundown: The Vampire in Retreat
Sweet Thing
Maelstrom
Father, The
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
Night House, The
Father of Flies
80,000 Years Old
Dead & Beautiful
Bull
Censor
Sleep
Freaky
Nightbooks
Whisker Away, A
Wild Indian
Whale Island
Chuck Steel: Night of the Trampires
Don't Breathe 2
Closing Time
Cryptozoo
Weathering with You
Rim of the World
Love & Basketball
JLA Adventures: Trapped in Time
   
 
Newest Articles
The Punk Rock Movie: Out of the Blue on Blu-ray
Yeah, Too Quiet: The Great Silence on Blu-ray
Vestron Double Bill: Dementia 13 and The Wraith
Farewell Dean Stockwell: His Years of Weirdness
Kung Fu Craft: Cinematic Vengeance! on Blu-ray
999 Letsbe Avenue: Gideon's Way on Blu-ray
Hungary for Cartoons: Hungarian Animations on MUBI
You Have No Choice: Invasion of the Body Snatchers on Blu-ray
You Can't Tame What's Meant to Be Wild: The Howling on Blu-ray
Commendably Brief: Short Sharp Shocks Vol. 2 on Blu-ray
Super Silents: Early Universal Vol. 2 on Blu-ray
Fable Fear: The Singing Ringing Tree on Blu-ray
Gunsight Eyes: The Sabata Trilogy on Blu-ray
Bloody Bastard Baby: The Monster/I Don't Want to Be Born on Blu-ray
Night of the Animated Dead: Director Jason Axinn Interview
The ParaPod: A Very British Ghost Hunt - Interview with Director/Star Ian Boldsworth
On the Right Track: Best of British Transport Films Vol. 2
The Guns of Nutty Joan: Johnny Guitar on Blu-ray
Intercourse Between Two Worlds: Twin Peaks Fire Walk with Me/The Missing Pieces on Blu-ray
Enjoy the Silents: Early Universal Vol. 1 on Blu-ray
Masterful: The Servant on Blu-ray
70s Sitcom Dads: Bless This House and Father Dear Father on Blu-ray
Going Under: Deep Cover on Blu-ray
Child's Play: Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box Vol. 3 on DVD
Poetry and Motion: Great Noises That Fill the Air on DVD
   
 

Child's Play: Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box Vol. 3 on DVD

  The Children's Film Foundation was a British institution from the nineteen-forties through to the mid-eighties and its productions are still kept in circulation by The British Film Institute through DVD box sets. Usually seen by the nation's kids at Saturday morning pictures alongside cartoons and short comedy subjects like The Three Stooges, they latterly turned up on television to amuse new generations. The third of these "Bumper Boxes" is released with these gems contained within...

Disc 1:

The Clue of the Missing Ape (1953)

The earliest film on the set is this Gibraltar-set entry where an English kid teams up with a local girl to foil insurgents intent on driving the British from the island by getting rid of the resident Barbary apes. It features George Cole as a somewhat unconvincing Spaniard.

Click here for a complete review.

Adventure in the Hopfields (1954)

Mandy Miller was a child superstar in Britain of the nineteen-fifties, so a natural for appearing in a CFF film, here a girl trying to retrieve an ornament for her mother that somehow sees her packing her trunk and marching off to the titular hopfields to raise cash in a rip-roaring yarn.

Click here for a complete review.

Tim Driscoll's Donkey (1955)

On the other hand, this is a comparatively more sedate piece where once Tim loses his pet donkey thanks to a devious frenemy, goes on the road in Ireland to get the beast back before it is sold on to a farm in England.

Click here for a complete review.

Disc 2:

Runaway Railway (1965)

One for the trainspotters, this recreates the then-topical Great Train Robbery with a vintage engine and a bunch of kids unwittingly assisting the bad guys. Once they realise they have been duped, they do their level (crossing) best to throw a spanner in the works, all at breakneck speed.

Click here for a complete review.



Calamity the Cow (1967)

Cattle rustling might seem more appropriate for John Wayne to be combatting, but here it's the requisite bunch of children, including a teenage Phil Collins (present under duress) who save the day, as well as Calamity who is their pet. The theme song is one for the ages.

Click here for a complete review.

Cry Wolf (1968)

We go from black and white to colour with this CFF equivalent of the spy movies popular in the sixties, as an overimaginative boy finds nobody believes him when he uncovers a plot to kidnap an international statesman from his seaside town.

Click here for a complete review.

Disc 3:

Big Wheels and Sailor (1979)

The CB radio craze came to the attention of the CFF around the same time of Convoy (song and film), so they incorporated it into this hijacking tale of truckers and gangsters, and the kids caught up in the middle, including UK TV personality Matthew Wright.

Click here for a complete review.

Breakout (1984)

The CFF was beginning to wind down productions when they tried to move with the times and create this kidnapping thriller as two boys are forced to accompany two criminals making a bid for freedom. Effectively a road movie shot largely outdoors.

Click here for a complete review.

Exploits at West Poley (1985)

One of the final CFF efforts, it barely had a cinema release but has been seen on television since, this was a Thomas Hardy adaptation that has two cousins setting themselves a project to divert a river through their village, with potentially disastrous, if unforeseen, consequences.

Click here for a complete review.

In addition to these films, there are extras, starting with an edition of the newsreel Our Magazine No. 2. Since the adults had their newsreels from Pathe, the children were catered for in their Saturday morning pictures in a similar manner. This effort has a percussion orchestra making quite the racket (though progressively with a female conductor, still a rarity even now), a craft tutorial in how to make a diorama out of various materials including plasticine, plus some figures for your trinket shelf, a visit to hot springs in New Zealand where Maori kids happily swim in warm waters among geysers, and a trip to a steam engine testing plant with much spinning of wheels and pumping of pistons.

Continuing the extras are three comedy shorts from future Carry On stalwart Peter Butterworth from 1953-4, the first when he was cultivating the character "Dickie Duffle", though he soon ditched that Chaplinesque moniker and opted to go with his real name instead, as seen in the following two. Initially, there is Watch Out, where he causes chaos in a film studio, not only cheap to shoot but a valuable insight into the workings of a minor company. Then there is That's an Order where he tries to eat a sandwich at the beach in peace, but somehow winds up as a shop assistant where most of the produce ends up on the floor or on Peter and his boss (check out the frozen dog for a grotesque gag). Thirdly there is Playground Express, where our hero tries to open the playpark in Brighton to a bunch of yelling kids, but has not reckoned with an officious killjoy he gets into a low-speed chase with, and somewhat hilariously, wins a swimming race too.

Finishing off the set is a short documentary on The Battle of Billy's Pond, which is on the first Bumper Box; the director had some footage he had not used for that release and edited it into these interviews with director Harley Cokeliss, an academic, and three modern kids who were impressed with the film's environmental message.

As if that were not enough, there is also an informative booklet featuring a Screen Test-style quiz you can try after watching these films. All in all, it's another high quality CFF DVD set.

Click here to buy from the BFI Shop.

Author: Graeme Clark.

 

< Back to Article list

Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
Jason Cook
Enoch Sneed
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
   

 

Last Updated: 31 March, 2018