|Hayley Mills in her debut film..|
During the first half of the 1960’s Hayley Mills, youngest daughter of John Mills and Mary Hayley Bell, was the most popular child actor in the world. British director, producer and screenwriter J Lee Thomson spotted her when he visited her father at the family home to discuss his new film Tiger Bay (1959). Filmed in atmospheric black and white on location in the Tiger Bay area behind the Cardiff Docks, one time home of singer Shirley Bassey, and at the Transporter Bridge in near by Newport. It tells the story of 10 year old Gillie who witnesses a Polish seaman, Bronik Korchinsky, shoot and kill his adulterous girlfriend Anya (Yvonne Mitchell) in a fit of jealous rage, abducting the young eyewitness they go on the run, pursued by the grim humourless policeman Superintendent Graham (John Mills). Twelve-year-old Hayley Mills play’s the tomboy Gillie Evens in this her debut feature film role for which she won the Best Newcomer BAFTA in 1960. The role also secured her a five-year contract with Walt Disney. Horst Buchholz in his first British film plays the fugitive Pole, the following year he went on to play Chico in the classic western The Magnificent Seven.
|Hayley with fugitive Horst Buchholz|
This British crime drama captures a glimpse of the rich multiracial culture of the area in the late 50’s including many scenes of children’s and black street culture. Authentic and realistic, a forerunner to the impending British New Wave. Hayley Mills went on to make her first two films for Disney but her biggest challenge was her role of Kathy Bostock in the British drama Whistle Down the Wind in 1961. Bryan Forbes debut film tells the story of three Lancashire children who discover Jesus Christ hiding in their barn! They get it in their minds that the local adult population is setting up a second crucifixion for their visitor and decide to do all they can to protect him. Alan Bates plays the stranger and Hayley’s mother wrote the novel that the films based upon. This I believe is Hayley best film and a great watch for all the family; in fact it would make a great double bill with Tiger Bay.
|Hayley with fugitive Alan Bates.|