Friday, 3 May 2013

Blunden Blunder



The Amazing Mr Blunden was actor-director Lionel Jeffries' followup to his astonishingly successful film adaptation of E. Nesbit's The Railway Children. Frankly Jeffries got lucky with his first film, which featured young Sally Thomsett who went on to bloom in TV's Robin's Nest, and Jenny Agutter who was only 52 at the time. Where Train Kids was fresh and carefree and featured teenage girls underwear on a pole, Blunden was leaden and beholden to tired Dickensian stereotypes.

As in TRC the story concerns a set of jolly decent (dull) middle class children in reduced circumstances who endure terrible hardships before a kindly mutton chopped benefactor comes to their aid. This time there's some added hokum about time travelling and ghost children - don't think Lost Hearts/The Innocents; this is pure bloody tedium. Even M&C stalwarts Graham Crowden and Madeline Smith in mildly saucy period garb fail to raise the tone.


Laurence Naismith as Mr Blunden. Wink.



The best 'turn' - I would only call it 'acting' in the broadest pantomime sense - comes from Diana Dors as Mrs Wickens, the evil mother-in-law attempting to kill the children to gain their inheritance. Truly a harridan to be reckoned with.

Wait for it...
Jeffries would later put the disastrous Blunden behind him with a double whammy of the excerable 'Wombling Free' and his awful version of Charles Kingley's 'The Water Babies', both of which made this fetid tripe look like chateaubriand. 

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