CFF Collection: Volume 1 - London Tales DVD
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Produced in 1958-76
Main Language - English
Countries & Regions - British Film
Classic Comedy • Classic Drama Movies • Contemporary Family Films • Contemporary Comedy • Contemporary Drama • Contemporary British Film • Classic Family Films • Contemporary Family Films • Comedy Drama • Classic British Film • Contemporary British Film
Contains three delightful tales from the CFF, including John Krish's The Salvage Gang (1958). As an opening gambit, this first volume from the BFI can't be bettered, writes Anthony Nield.
Each of these three delightful tales springs from the simplest of ideas. In The Salvage Gang it is a broken saw in urgent need of a replacement before dad finds out. In Operation Third Form a very young John Moulder-Brown (even younger than he was in Deep End) accidentally leaves his homework at school. And in Night Ferry a toy aeroplane landing in a railway yard prompts its equally young lead to stumble upon Bernard Cribbins and Aubrey Morris acting all suspicious...
Simplicity was the watchword of the Children’s Film Foundation, makers of first-class family entertainment for the best part of four decades. Between 1951 and 1987 they put their name to more than 400 features, shorts and serials, all of which were pleasingly no-nonsense in their approach to storytelling. With many eager to revisit the cinema experiences of their youths, nostalgia will no doubt play its part in this release. However, it’s important to remember - or perhaps to realise - that the CFF put a huge amount of effort into every one of their films and employed a lot of genuine talent.
The three titles which make up these London Tales offer the perfect examples. Their seemingly inauspicious beginnings give way to a trio of terrifically entertaining yarns whether it be the ever-elaborate money-making schemes of The Salvage Gang or the kids-play-detectives adventures of Operation Third Form and Night Ferry. Each is fuelled by a wonderfully jaunty score, great use of London locations, some familiar faces (Wilfrid Brambell and a teenage Frazer Hines pop up in The Salvage Gang) and a host of child actors who actually act like real kids. The Salvage Gang also has the added enticement of British documentary great John Krish behind the camera.
The BFI intend to make a great deal of the CFF’s output available to the DVD buying public over the next few years in themed collections such as this one. As an opening gambit London Tales couldn’t be bettered - three terrific films, all of which are in great shape, as enjoyable today as they were during their original Saturday matinee showings.
Anthony Nield on 18th June 2012
Author of 10 reviews
Contains The Salvage Gang (Krish, 1958), Operation Third Form (Eady, 1966) and Night Ferry (Eady, 1976).
For over 30 years the Children's Film Foundation produced quality entertainment for young audiences, employing the cream of British filmmaking talent. After many years out of distribution, these much-loved and fondly-remembered family films return to the screen, newly transferred from the best-available elements held in the BFI National Archive. In London Tales, the first volume of themed DVD releases from the BFI, villains, conmen and plain bad luck are no match for plucky London youngsters.
The CFF was a non-profit making pan-industry initiative, set up in 1951 by the owner of the Odeon and Rank cinema chains to make home-grown entertainment for young
cinemagoers to see at the ‘Saturday morning pictures’. One of the Foundation’s major contributions to the British film industry was encouraging directorial and acting talent. Michael Powell, Lewis Gilbert, Alberto Cavalcanti and John Krish all worked for it and famous film and TV names such as Francesca Annis, Michael Crawford, Susan George, Richard O’Sullivan, Dennis Waterman, Keith Chegwin, Gary Kemp, Leslie Ash, Phil Collins, Sadie Frost and Matthew Wright all started out in CFF films. Key themes of the films include adventure, mysteries, monsters, science-fiction, shipwrecks, races and animals, with regional content from Scotland to South West England.
Directed by acclaimed filmmaker John Krish (I Think They Call Him John), The Salvage Gang (1958) is an affectionate tour of bomb-damaged London, featuring performances from a young Frazer Hines (Doctor Who, Emmerdale) and a cameo by Wilfred Brambell (Steptoe and Son). When four friends try to raise enough money to replace a broken saw, their money-making schemes take them on an unexpected journey through the capital.
With its groovy 1960s soundtrack, Operation Third Form (1966), by Children’s Film Foundation veteran David Eady, is a pacey boys’ own adventure. A fresh-faced John
Moulder Brown (Deep End) gives a sparkling performance as the schoolboy out to foil a pair of North London crooks with his crack spy unit – his classmates and kid sister.
Night Ferry (1976) stars Bernard Cribbins (The Railway Children, Doctor Who) as ‘Pyramid’, a dastardly master-of-disguise who plans to smuggle an ancient Egyptian mummy out of the country. When young Jeff, played by Graham Fletcher-Cook, discovers the plan, a dangerous chase via South London’s Victoria Station and Clapham Junction ensues.
Length: 164 mins
Aspect ratio: 1.33:1
Format: DVD B&W
Released: 23rd July 2012
Cat No: BFIVD948
- 2 discs
- Brand new High Definition transfers of all films
- Topic – Children’s Theatre (1959, 14 mins): US TV show Topic on the work of the Children’s Film Foundation, with John Krish on the set of The Salvage Gang, J Arthur Rank and the CFF director Mary Field
- Illustrated booklet with essays by Andrew Roberts and Vic Pratt.