Pacifist Postwar Parable from 1948 Belatedly Arrives on DVD
Even though we didn’t have a color TV, I remember watching this film on TV as a kid every time it came on. What compelled me to watch it was the frightening prospect of being ostracized by my friends and society if my hair should suddenly turn green. unfortunately, totally lost on me was the subtle, more significant point the movie was making about the futility of war and about its harmful effect on children and other living things.
Now watching it again a half century later, I found it to be incredibly profound, in much the way of a typical Twilight Zone episode. Set in the wake of World War II, this thought-provoking fable revolves around Peter Fry (Dean Stockwell), an orphan who finds refuge in a small town in Middle America, at least until the day that his hair inexplicably turns green.
What we eventually learn is that his parents died in the war, and he was sent by other orphans to deliver a message of peace and understanding. And the only tangible connection Peter has to his past is a letter from his father asking him to do the same thing. En route to an uplifting ending, we’re treated to the sight of his being treated like a freak of nature by cruel classmates. He’s also kept at bay by equally-suspicious adults.
A precursor to all those radiation fallout monster flicks of the Fifties. A telling cautionary tale worth a watch for far more than the nostalgic factor.
The Boy with Green Hair
Excellent (4 stars)
Running Time: 82 Minutes
Studio: Warner Home Video Archive Collection
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