Trompé Setsuled (setsuled) wrote,
Trompé Setsuled

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The Two Farthings aren't Even Necessary

Who needs a unicorn capable of granting any wish? One might think things seems hopeless to the little boy in 1955's A Kid for Two Farthings, living in a ragged tailor shop with his mother and whose father seems to have permanently left the country. But little Joe seems inexhaustibly cheerful despite having kept a series of pets who've all died young. He's the kid, he buys a kid (a young goat) with one horn he thinks is a unicorn, and the movie's actually about Diana Dors and her body builder boyfriend.

I can't really blame director Carol Reed for the shift in focus--Joe (Jonathon Ashmore) is cute but a little shrill and a lot of his dialogue very clearly had to be dubbed in. Meanwhile, Diana Dors is

And her boyfriend is

Theirs is a pretty lightweight story. The body builder, Sam (Joe Robinson), works in the tailor shop but dreams of winning it big in an international body building competition so he can afford to wed Sonia (Dors) properly. But when the local wrestling champion, the Python (Primo Carnera), taunts Sam at the gym, Sam rashly goes for the steadier paycheck of a wrestling job even though he fears it'll kill his muscle definition. At first Sonia's dismayed, then she realises this brings her dream of a normal married life closer to reality.

Constantly underfoot is Joe with his 'unicorn', taking credit for most good things that happen because he wished on the goat. He was told about the power of unicorns by the tailor shop owner, Mr. Kandinsky (David Kossoff), a Jewish man with a thick accent possibly meant to be a Holocaust survivor. He's pretty charming as he weaves stories for the credulous boy about unicorns and he helps maintain a little graveyard for the various small animals Joe apparently neglects to death.

I don't think we're meant to see it that way. This seems like its meant to be a tale of the human heart maintaining a sense of wonder and a capacity for love despite terrible hardship but the amusing wrestling plot and Dors dreaming over living room sets and diamond rings feels too easy for such a heavy statement. It's attractively shot and Dors gives a performance cagier than her character--I'm really starting to like Dors and it was exciting seeing her in a colour film.

Tags: a kid for two farthings, carol reed, david kossoff, diana dors, movies
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