The black and white film is bleakly set in a wintry, muddy Lancashire countryside. Three farm children find a man in their barn and believe he is Jesus. Hayley Mills stars as the eldest child and Alan Bates as the fugitive. It’s spare, well scripted (by Willis Hall and Keith Waterhouse), well acted and very touching without being at all sentimental. From this distance it’s also a period piece: children in gumboots; no telephone; policemen who wear trilbys and drive vintage cars. Excellent! Here’s a clip.
I was wondering whether, as I got older and enjoyed watching The Parent Trap and other Hayley Mills vehicles again, I might be getting a bit of a thing about her. Looking at the tributes people have made for YouTube, I realise I have a way to go before I need worry. Still, when I eventually get myself a working DVD player, this will be one of the films I’ll buy.