Children’s Film Foundation (CFF) Bumper Box Vol 4
DVD: Children’s Film Foundation (CFF) Bumper Box Vol 4.
- The Dog and the Diamonds (1953)
- The Stolen Airliner (1955)
- Blow Your Own Trumpet! (1958)
- The Missing Note (1961)
- The Big Catch (1968)
- Blinker’s Spy-Spotter (1972)
- The Flying Sorceror (1974)
- Mr Selkie (1978)
- Gabrielle and the Doodleman (1984)
Born in the 60’s and growing up in the 70’s, the Children’s Film Foundation were a staple part of my viewing when their films were regularly shown on TV. Yet despite having watched a fair few of them in my youth, all 9 films in this set were completely new to me.
Following tried and tested CFF formulas involving a gang of kids either finding something that was stolen, battling bad guys, or chasing a dream…sometimes all 3 at once, every one of them is nothing if not charming in its presentation and entertaining in a way that tickled the nostalgia part of my brain and made me think back to a simpler time…you know…when kids risked their lives climbing a high frame in the playground with a concrete floor to land on.
With anything from your past there’s always going to be the “ooh, look who it is” factor playing in to your viewing experience. In this case a few notables were watching a very young Michael Crawford learn how to play the cornet (long before Betty and Jessica appeared in his life), seeing the awesome Eric Sykes again, along with Bob Todd and Bernard Bresslaw.
The Big Catch was the outlier for me in this collection, being more of a somber story and playing out at a very slow pace, especially when compared with the eccentric silly fun played out in an over the top manner in the other films…Matthew Kelly entering a video game anyone!?
Clocking in at just under an hour each, even if one particular story doesn’t quite hit the spot for you, the next one is never far behind, and watched in chronological order it is interesting to see how the attitudes and fashions of the kids involved change over time.
Accompanied by some very enjoyable shorts on each disc, plus a brand new documentary and an illustrated booklet with essays and notes on all the films and extras, and a Screen Test Quiz.
Probably not something that kids of today would engage with as much as older viewers looking back on a time from their youth, but definitely worth picking up for a journey through time with the CFF…quite literally in the case of The Flying Sorcerer…which also has my favourite ever dragon in it too.
- Five short films from the Children’s Film Foundation collection – Horsey hi-jinks and sneaky saddle-snappery in Stable Rivals (1952, 16 mins), saggy socked seaside shenanigans in Swift Water (1952, 16 mins), the Chiffy Kids meet Kenny ‘Dr Terror’s House of Horrors’ Lynch and Harry H ‘Steptoe and Son’ Corbett inPot Luck and Chimp Mates – The Big Kick (1976, 36 mins total) and reminders of pre-internet pastimes in Our Magazine No 4 (1952, 11 mins)
- A brand spanking new documentary by filmmaker and CFF aficionado Jason Gurr as he revisits some of the greatest ever locations used in the many productions
- Fully illustrated booklet featuring new writing by CFF expert Vic Pratt, recollections from Samantha Weysom (The Appointment) on her role in Mr Selkieand a CFF quiz by the BFI’s Trevona Thomson
Released on 27th February.
Review by Dave from discs kindly supplied by the BFI.