Synopsis by Hal Erickson
Bryan Forbes' first directorial effort is set in a rugged Lancashire farm community. Three impressionable children, played by Hayley Mills, Diane Holgate, and Alan Barnes, come across a bearded vagrant named Arthur Blakey (Alan Bates) sleeping in their barn. Upon awakening, the ill-tempered bum takes a look at the white-eyed kids and mutters the imprecation "Jesus Christ!" In their innocence, the children assume that Arthur is Jesus Christ, and they spread the word to their friends. In truth, he is an escaped killer. But when the authorities come around looking for him, the kids, remembering Christ's persecution, do their best to protect their far-from-deserving new friend. Though the material, based on a novel by Mary Hayley Bell (Hayley Mills's mother) could have been mawkish and obvious in other hands, Forbes handles the situation and the characters realistically; even the blatant New Testament symbolism is logically incorporated into the proceedings.
accusation, allegory, barn, childhood, childhood-adventures, coming-of-age, faith, family, innocence, killing, mistaken-identity, religion, trust