Review - Film - A passion for Wales

27th May 2011 at 01:00

Tiger bay

Director: J Lee Thompson

Starring: John Mills, Horst Buchholz, Hayley Mills

Out now on DVD

Cert: PG

Rating: 3 OUT OF 5

In Tiger Bay a sailor called Korchinsky comes home from sea and finds out that his girlfriend has moved and is having an affair with another man.

When Korchinsky tries to find out where his girlfriend has moved, he meets a young tomboy named Gillie who gets herself involved in Korchinsky's plight. Along the way, Gillie tells lots of lies to try to make friends but it becomes her undoing and she gets into lots of trouble with Korchinsky, who has a violent temper.

When the film started I thought it looked a bit boring because it is in black and white. As the film continued, I realised that it is not a bad story line and it is based in Wales, but not a Wales I recognised.

The film starts slowly. At first, I was unsure what sort of a film it is, but it soon became apparent.

I liked the fast moving parts of Tiger Bay, which included the police chase down to Barry to catch the boat, the boat ride out to sea, and when Gillie falls into the water and Korchinsky jumps into the sea to rescue her. There are lots of good bits in this film but my overall favourite was when Gillie had a smile on her face and was enjoying herself.

Amy Bunning, 11, Blenheim Road Community Primary School, Cwmbran, Torfaen

Rating: 2 OUT OF 5

Directed by J Lee Thompson, with screenplay by John Hawkesworth and Shelley Smith, 1959 crime drama Tiger Bay tells the tale of an orphaned tomboy, Gillie Evans (a young Hayley Mills), and her unlikely friendship with Polish seaman Bronislav Korchinsky (Horst Buchholz).

Returning from sea, Korchinsky discovers that his girlfriend Anya (Yvonne Mitchell) has been evicted by the landlord.

In seeking out her new address, he comes across Gillie, who has just been in a fight over wanting to play cowboys and Indians with the local boys, but who is rebuffed for not having a gun. I felt a bit sorry for her as she only wanted to play with the boys and because of that she put herself at risk.

Korchinsky and Gillie find themselves in various situations and it is touching the way she looks up to him and he looks after her.

When police superintendent Graham (John Mills) arrives to investigate a murder, Gillie tells lies to cover for her new-found friend. But she can't keep track of her stories and starts making mistakes.

More than 50 years on from its original release, the film seems stark and rather dated to me. The plot is predictable, lacking the dark twists and turns of more modern examples. However, I enjoyed looking at the film locations and trying to recognise them. I think this was a quite prominent film of the time.

Karen Crooks, Filmclub leader, Blenheim Road Community Primary School, Cwmbran, Torfaen

Filmclub, an educational charity supported by Lovefilm, sets up after-school clubs where children meet to watch, discuss and review thought-provoking films. Each week members of Filmclub will review everything from new releases to classic and world cinema. Free to state schools. Find out more at www.filmclub.orgregister


Sleep Furiously

Director: Gideon Koppel

Out now on DVD

Cert: U

4 OUT OF 5

Sleep Furiously is about the Welsh village where director Gideon Koppel grew up. It tells the story of a small farming community called Trefeurig, and how locals struggle to keep the village school open.

The title Sleep Furiously is deceiving because it has no relevance to the story. However, the rest of the film is enjoyable. I liked the fact that young people spoke in Welsh because most Welsh that is spoken nowadays is spoken by the older generation.

The film jumps from one place to another very quickly, which is annoying.

Koppel put his heart and soul into this film. He grew up in Trefeurig and he wanted to give people that have never been to Wales a chance to see the beautiful countryside. In parts of the film the sheep act like they are kangaroos, which is amusing.

The music throughout the film is related to Wales in some way, most of the music is classical or sung by a choir. I would recommend this film to anybody who enjoys learning about Wales.

Rebecca Birdsall, 14, Amman Valley School, Ammanford, Carmarthenshire

Under Milk Wood

Director: Les Orton

Starring: Richard Burton (narrator)

Cert: PG

Out now on DVD

2 OUT OF 5

Under Milk Wood is an animated tale of the inhabitants of Llareggub. Set on a spring night in the cobble-stoned town overlooking the sea, the characters have wild and wonderful dreams.

Firstly, we meet Captain Cat who dreams of his time at the bottom of the ocean. He also dreams of Mrs Probert, whose name he tattooed on his belly. Mrs Ogmore-Pritchard dreams of bossing her deceased husbands. There are scores more interesting characters.

This film is memorable, but not always for the right reasons. The characters are very different and the focus switches from one person to another in an instant. It is difficult to follow which characters are being focused on.

It is interesting to see the differences between the lives of the characters at day and night, particularly the blind Captain Cat who is an interesting character because of the way that he watches the lives of everyone else.

The confusion between the characters spoils the film. Unfortunately, the story has no real purpose.

David Evans, 15, Treorchy Comprehensive School, Pontypridd.

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