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January 2019



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Whistle Down the Wind

Having listened to Test Match Special for most of the day I decided I couldn’t bear to watch Cricket on Five. I’d recorded the 1961 film Whistle Down the Wind so I watched that instead. My mother took my sister and me to see it one school holidays, probably during some horrible wet week. What I remembered most about it afterwards was the haunting theme music. You can find it on Spotify, making sure you clock Malcolm Arnold and not Lloyd Webber. Failing that, listen here for 60 seconds.

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.


I love that movie. Love the bit where one of the kids asks who he is when they see him in the barn, and he replies "Oh, Jesus Christ!" and they think he's giving them his name. Gorgeous. I haven't seen it for years and years; I should look out for it on DVD.

The cricket ... aaagh. Just like old times. England has good bowlers, but a rubbish batting line up. No KP, no Flintoff = no chance. As for Ravi Bopara, where did they get him from? Useless doesn't begin to describe him.

Nice to see Stuart Clark doing well, though! Gabe got his autograph at New Road and he was a very amiable chap.
I loved the film. Probably the first time I've seen it since that cinema visit.

Cricket! *groans* Looks like it will be all over by lunchtime. What optimists we are, always thinking things have changed.
Good session this morning, though. Have really enjoyed watching the tail wag! Shame lunch has intervened, because it's getting later here...
Who'd 'a thought it? Some face saved after all. So jelaous that you can watch it :-)
It is a seriously beautiful film, and one I have seen many times.

My copy came from a Sunday supplement and the children have now seen it a few times, too ;-)
Can't think how I've missed seeing it again all these years. I was impressed by how well it was shot.



I love her, I love her. I haven't seen this one, but I've watched a bunch of others and she never, ever disappoints. Wonderful actress. Hey Miss Madam, what year were you born?? Me - 1948. Hayley - 1946 (I think). DVD players over here are cheap. Are they pricey across that big pond?

Re: Hayley

I do recommend this film, also Tiger Bay if you haven't seen it. She stars with her father, one of my favourite film actors; I'll watch anything he's in.
We are the same generation :-)
DVD players are quite cheap but I want to buy a whole new TV set up, which is why I'm waiting.