Boy with Green Hair

The Boy with Green Hair

Director: Joseph Losey

Cast: Joseph Losey, Pat O'Brien, Robert Ryan, Barbara Hale

     
 
Finding a curiously silent young runaway boy (Dean Stockwell) whose head has been completely shaved, small town police call in a psychologist (Robert Ryan) and discover that he is a war orphan named Peter Frye. Moving in with an understanding retired actor named Gramps (Pat O'Brien), Peter starts going to school and generally begins living the life of a normal boy

Overview

Finding a curiously silent young runaway boy (Dean Stockwell) whose head has been completely shaved, small town police call in a psychologist (Robert Ryan) and discover that he is a war orphan named Peter Frye. Moving in with an understanding retired actor named Gramps (Pat O'Brien), Peter starts going to school and generally begins living the life of a normal boy until his class gets involved with trying to help war orphans in Europe and Asia. Peter soon realizes that -- like the children on the posters, whose images haunt him -- he, too, is a war orphan. The realization about his parents and the work helping the orphans makes Peter turn very serious, and he is further troubled when he overhears the adults around him talking about the world preparing for another war. Peter awakens the next day and his hair has turned green, prompting him to run away after being taunted by the townspeople and his peers. Suddenly, appearing before him in a lonely part of the woods are the orphaned children whose pictures he saw on the posters. They tell him that he is a war orphan, but that with his green hair he can make a difference and must tell people that war is dangerous for children. He leaves determined to deliver his message to any and all. Upon his return, the townspeople chase Peter, and even Gramps tries to encourage him to consider shaving his hair so that it might grow back normally. He agrees to get his head shaved, and the town barber does the job -- that night, however, Peter runs away. Later reunited with Gramps, Peter learns that there are adults out there who accept what he has to say and want him to go on saying it. He's sure that his hair will grow back in green again, and he will continue to carry his message.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Bruce Eder
One of the last movies made at RKO under the regime of production chief Dore Schary, The Boy With Green Hair was one of the most idealistic fantasy films ever made in America. Completed for release after Howard Hughes took over the studio, The Boy With Green Hair never got the kind of push that it should have, or that it needed, to become anything more than a cult curio in the history of American cinema. Director Joseph Losey put it all on the line with this Technicolor production, which might not have had an expensive cast but cost a fair amount to shoot. The movie's idealism, as well as its implicit criticism of American (and Russian, British, French, and Chinese) governmental policies (and our nuclear program), were about as harsh and confrontational as mainstream filmmaking got in 1948, even if they were couched in terms of fantasy and a cinematic fable. Moreover, the entire cast, from Dean Stockwell, Pat O'Brien, Robert Ryan, and Barbara Hale on down, seemed to embrace the movie's message with genuine fervor, which only made the movie more piercing and potent. European filmmakers, including Vittorio De Sica with Miracle in Milan and Leo Joannon and John Berry with Atoll K (aka Utopia), would try other whimsical approaches in dealing with the plight of displaced persons, but Losey and RKO were there first; and though the movie seemed to create more trouble than it was worth as far as the new RKO management was concerned, The Boy With Green Hair has endured better and longer as a potent piece of filmmaking than any movie that the new management generated at RKO during the eight years that followed until the studio's demise. Sadly, the movie endures today as well, because it addresses a problem that's not much less serious and pressing today than it was in 1948.

Product Details

Release Date:
12/01/2009
UPC:
0883316225158
Original Release:
1948
Rating:
NR
Source:
Warner Archives
Presentation:
[B&W, Full Frame]
Time:
1:22:00
Sales rank:
13,408

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Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Pat O'Brien Gramp
Robert Ryan Dr. Evans
Barbara Hale Miss Brand
Dean Stockwell Peter Frye
Richard Lyon Michael
Walter Catlett The King
Samuel S. Hinds Dr. Knudson
Regis Toomey Mr. Davis
Charles Meredith Mr. Piper
David Clarke Barber
Bill Sheffield Red
Johnny Calkins Danny
Teddy Infuhr Timmy
Dwayne Hickman Joey
Eilene Janssen Peggy
Charles Arnt Mr. Hammond
Russ Tamblyn Classmate

Technical Credits
Joseph Losey Director
Stephen Ames Producer
Constantin Bakaleinikoff Musical Direction/Supervision
Adele Balkan Costumes/Costume Designer
George Barnes Cinematographer
Ben Barzman Screenwriter
Gordon Bau Makeup
Ralph Berger Art Director
Albert S. D'Agostino Art Director
Frank Doyle Editor
Leigh Harline Score Composer
Alfred Lewis Levitt Screenwriter
Dore Schary Producer
Darrell Silvera Set Decoration/Design
William L. Stevens Set Decoration/Design

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