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1001 Stories Collection

The Boy Who Turned Yellow

1001 The Boy Who Turned Yellow
Added on 29th September 2020

Screenplay writer Emeric Pressburger
Director Michael Powell
First shown 1972, Children's Film Foundation, UK

Action and adventure
1001

After a strange incident on the Underground John turns yellow and finds he can travel on electronic waves.

Story

On a school trip to the Tower of London John loses his pet mouse, Alice, and strange things start happening to him. While on the tube, he turns yellow, and discovers he can travel through the TV on electronic waves. He uses his new power to transport to the Tower of London at night to look for Alice, only to find himself arrested by Beefeaters!

Why we chose it

From 1951-1982 the Children’s Film Foundation created original films for the Saturday morning children’s cinema matinees. Often starring well known actors – and starting the careers of a number of future stars – the CFF was recognised for the high quality of its production and for its contribution to original children’s drama.

Where it came from

The Boy Who Turned Yellow was the final collaboration of English director Michael Powell (1905 – 1990) and Hungarian Jewish screenwriter Emeric Pressburger (1902 – 1988). The pair met in 1939 and made many highly original films for their production company The Archers. While they were successful in the 1940s, they disbanded in the 1950s and prior to making The Boy Who Turned Yellow their reputation had faded largely into obscurity. The film was made for the Children’s Film Foundation, a non-profit organisation created in 1951 to produce alternatives to the American films which were being screened by Britain’s Saturday matinee cinema clubs. Mary Field was the foundation’s chief executive, one of the few women at the time to run a major film body, and she emphasised films which entertained children rather than just instructing them.

Where it went next

Though the film was not one of Powell and Pressburger’s most acclaimed works, it was one of the most popular that the CFF produced, and won the foundation’s Chiffy award, which was voted for by the children themselves. Over time, the reputation of Powell and Pressburger has grown, and they are now acknowledged as some of Britain’s greatest ever filmmakers. Unfortunately, the Children’s Film Foundation no longer exists in its original form, having become the Children’s Media Foundation, but it has left a lasting legacy, both by spotlighting upcoming new filmmakers, and by refusing to talk down to its young audiences.

Associated stories

Other films by Powell and Pressburger include A Matter of Life and Death (1946) and The Red Shoes (1948). The Children's Film Foundation produced countless films for children, including the first film adaptation of Enid Blyton’s Famous Five books, Five on a Treasure Island (1957).

Added on 29th September 2020

Screenplay writer Emeric Pressburger
Director Michael Powell
First shown 1972, Children's Film Foundation, UK

Action and adventure
1001