For over 30 years the Children's Film Foundation produced quality entertainment for young audiences, employing the cream of British filmmaking talent. Newly transferred from the best available elements held in the BFI National Archive, these much-loved and fondly remembered films finally return to the screen after many years out of distribution in this specially curated video release from the BFI.
Johnny on the Run (1953), a superb early work by illustrious British director Lewis Gilbert (You Only Live Twice, Educating Rita, Alfie), follows orphaned Polish refugee Janek who runs into trouble in the shape of two scheming thieves. Starring Sydney Tafler (Carue Her Name with Pride, The Spy Who Loved Me) as a cunning spiv, and featuring an appearance from John Laurie (The 39 Steps, Dad's Army), Johnny on the Run is an action-packed adventure with a remarkable performance from its young lead.
Hide and Seek (1972) stars a teenage Gary Kemp (The Krays) as do-gooding Chris, who becomes entangled with a borstal escapee known locally as the Deptford Dodger. With friend Bev, Chris traces the ungrateful Dodger's disreputable dad. With Roy Dotrice and Robin Askwith in supporting roles, this thriller is among the best of the Foundation's 1970s output.
In Terry on the Fence (1985), when our 11-year-old protagonist runs away from home he only intends to put the wind up his parents. But a gang of older bullies, led by tough-nut Les, soon draw him into their daunting world of break-ins and stolen goods. Based on the book by author Bernard Ashley, Terry on the Fence goes far beyond the concept of goodies and baddies, to the ambiguity at the heart of Terry's moral dilemma.
- CFF Collection: Vol.5: Runaways review by PE
Most of these films are shot in London and are a wonderful time capsule of how it used to be. I live in Deptford where 'Hide & Seek' was filmed and It's amazing to see how much it's changed and how much it hasn't! London seemed somehow a lot more cosy. Maybe because back before the 1980's it wasn't just the domain of the wealthy.
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