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Kid For Two Farthings, A (1955, Celia Johnson, Diana Dors)

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Adapted from Wolf Mankowitz’s novel, A Kid for Two Farthings was shot by Carol Reed after she made The Man Between, illustrating the director’s diverse talents despite being better known for thrillers and socially conscious films. A Kid for Two Farthings is a poetic fable with Jewish overtones and was Reed’s first colour production.

This charming tale of East End life is set in Petticoat Lane and focuses on young Joe (Jonathan Ashmore), who lives with his mother Joanna (Celia Johnson) above a tailor shop owned by Kandinsky (David Kossoff). The tailor explains to Joe, through the legend of the unicorn, that everyone’s dreams and wishes can come true. The young boy determines to help realise all the wishes of his hard-working neighbours.

The boy uses his pocket money to buy what he thinks is a unicorn (actually a goat with a single horn) and, as in all the best fairytales, his wishes do eventually come true, the boy’s hopes and dreams overcoming the hardship of his working class neighbourhood. With fine performances from the top-notch British cast including Diana Dors and Sid James.

production details
UK | 96 minutes | 1956

Director: Carol Reed
Script: Wolf Mankowitz, based on his novel,

cast
Celia Johnson as Joanna
David Kossoff as Avrom Kandinsky
Joe Robinson as Sam Heppner
Jonathan Ashmore as Joe
Primo Carnera as Python Macklin
Lou Jacobi as Blackie Isaacs
Brenda De Banzie as Lady Ruby
Vera Day as Mimi
Danny Green as Bully Bason
Sydney Tafler as Madam Rita
Sid James as Ice Berg
Irene Handl as Mrs. Abramowitz
Diana Dors as Sonia

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