(de) wrote: Alas for a Remastered Edition About the only vibrant thing to the copy I've just watched of this is the titular green hair, Technicolor not withstanding. It seems this one is succumbing to the ravages of time, and, alas, it's not been cleaned any. Of course, regardless of its cast--a very young Dean Stockwell and a pre-[i]Perry Mason[/i] Barbara Hale, not to mention a young and uncredited Russ Tamblyn--it's pretty forgotten. Remastering, it seems, is for movies people have heard of. I suppose it's possible that this will someday get the Criterion treatment; I'm not sure it necessarily ought to, but I can make an argument for it. However, for now, this came from Netflix as a low-quality version with no special features. Perhaps I should count myself lucky that it came with scene selection. Stockwell plays Peter Fry, who has run away from home. Because he won't give his name, the police turn him over to psychiatrist (or something) Dr. Evans (Robert Ryan), who gets Peter's whole story out of him. It seems he spent his early years being passed from relative to relative until he ended up with Gramp Fry (Pat O'Brien). They get along just fine until the day when Peter's school gets involved in helping European and Asian war orphans. Peter is told for the first time that he's one, too, that his parents died in London while saving other children. He does not handle this at all well, which is only to be expected. So he goes to bed terribly stressed, and he wakes up the next morning with, obviously, green hair. The townspeople give him horrible grief over this. He then sees some kind of weird vision of other war orphans, the ones from the posters up at school--all white ones, but never mind--who tell him that his green hair has been given to him as a gift so that people will notice him, and he will be able to spread his message of peace to all the world. So, naturally, the adults agree to shave his head. The whole upbringing of this kid is horribly negligent, really. It seems none of his relatives give a damn about him; I see to recall his mentioning that Gramp Fry isn't even really his grandfather, though I could be wrong about that. Anyway, they shuffled him from person to person, relative to relative. And the fact that he spent that whole time believing that his parents were on a trip of some kind? What the hell? When were they planning to tell him, and how were they planning to explain why they hadn't yet? Peter's a lot less angry than I would have been, though he certainly isn't thrilled at the kid who first calls him a war orphan. I wouldn't be, particularly, either. It isn't right that all the kids in his class knew that his parents were dead, but he didn't. That's simply not reasonable. This is an awfully simplistic movie. Somehow, this one kid and his green hair are supposed to be a message of peace to the whole world, and that will, I don't know, stop the Cold War or something. At the time the film was made, there was only one nuclear power in the world, but discussion among some adults in the film seems pretty certain that any future war would pretty much mean the end of the world. Whether they believed the Soviets would eventually get the bomb or whether they don't believe that matters, I'm not sure, but the women are pretty clear on how future war will not end well for anyone. Though one of the women is of the "well, it'll happen eventually no matter what," fatalistic school. So the boy wigs out, and that, too, is just before the Saviour of Green Hair. I am deathly amused by the level of wigging out (ha!) over the kid's hair. Yes, it's pretty shocking, and yes, it's pretty sudden. His teacher, Miss Brand (Barbara Hale, later known as Della Street), tries to treat it as though it's no big deal, but half the townspeople think it's catching and the other half think there's some environmental cause. Either way, quite a lot of people are afraid they're all going to suffer the horrible, horrible fate of having green hair. A group of Peter's classmates go hunting him down and chasing him through the woods so that they can cut his hair. It's all kind of alarming, actually. Gramp says at one point that he always tries to have a little green about, because green is the colour of growth and hope--and Ireland, but anyway--and so we are meant to see Peter's hair. I'm just saying it would make a heck of a lot less of an impression nowadays. True, you don't get as many twelve-year-olds who've dyed their hair abnormal colours, but he certainly would not have been the only person in town with green hair.