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The Railway Children (ABC, Shaftesbury Avenue, and good-luck to another new cinema) is kids stuff. And very nice too, most people seemed to think. Certainly this affectionate adaptation of dear old E Nesbit’s fatuous novel is much the best of Bryan Forbes’s output this far. At least it isn’t downright third-rate. But I wouldn’t quite call it first-rate either.
Adapted and directed by Lionel Jeffries, it tells its story of a sweet middle-class family falling on hard times with a gentle and persuasive charm that almost makes up for a general lack of style in the filming, if not the acting. Dinah Sheridan is good as Mummy; Bernard Cribbins does splendidly as Mr Perks, the stationmaster; and William Mervyn has the impossible part of the Kindly Old Person who rights all wrongs. The children are Jenny Agutter, so promising in I Start Counting, Sally Thomsett, and Gary Warren. They are positively ripping.
It is all thoroughly old fashioned, nostalgic, and redolent of a world that died long ago (if it ever existed at all that is). Not for dreary old cynics like myself, but a wonderful piece of family entertainment in the sense that nobody could possibly take offence at anything they see on the screen and many will obviously find it a blow struck for sanity in a wicked incomprehensible world.
Source: The Guardian
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