DVD Review: The Amazing Mr Blunden (U)
The Amazing Mr Blunden
IN A NUTSHELL
At last - as Mr Blunden memorably whispers. At last. The DVD of one of the greatest family movies ever is released 40 years after it cast its enchanting spell.
Two figures emerge on the lawns of Langley Park. For a moment, young Lucy (Lynne Frederick) believes it is the swirling mist that makes them appear insubstantial. She is already spooked - the whispering voices in the burnt-out shell of a mansion have put her on edge.
"Sara! Sara! Don't leave me," says an echo, disturbing the pigeons.
Back on the lawn, she calls for brother Jamie (Garry Miller) and a truth becomes as real as the hands of the young visitors they clasp for assurance, a truth suggested by the enigmatic Mr Blunden who brought the fatherless Allen family to tend this far-away wreck of a mansion.
And there we are, in the thick of the story in one of the most magical family films ever, at last released on DVD on Monday by Second Sight Films, 40 years after its release.
In 1818, almost 100 years to the day before their encounter in the garden, Sara (Rossalyn Landor) and Georgie (Marc Granger) are in mortal peril. Their story is made clear in the churchyard where the date of their deaths is carved on their headstones.
But Sara and Jamie have a chance to travel back in time, rescue the children and rewrite their fateful history.
Images are rich and rife through this lovely film and its characters survive the travails of time too.
Of David Lodge, the punch-drunk husband who fights shadows at the clap of a bell; of the red-nosed and rotund Diana Dors, as Mrs Wickens, plotting to get her hands on the moulah; of Bella confused by apparitions no-one else can see.
This is a companion piece to Lionel Jeffries' The Railway Children but has an added edge and verve, touching on themes such as guilt and redemption.
Mr Blunden (Laurence Naismith in his last film) explaining why the grown-ups cannot see the young time travellers tells Lucy and Jamie: "As they grow older they lose their power to believe in the unlikely."
Thanks to you, Mr Blunden, not me. Never me.