7-year-old Rachel Mathias (Loretta Parry) and 9-year-old Michael O’Malley (Philip Needs) strike up a strong friendship and spend most of their time they can together.
Mike’s family is Catholic while Rachel comes from a Jewish family but Michael and Rachel learn about each other as Michal attends Synagogue on Saturday and Rachel attends a Sunday Catholic Mass.
The performances of the two children are outstanding. They confront the scary local shopkeeper Mr Pritchard (Finlay Currie) together, share a pet mouse, and make their own secret hideout in an old shed.
Their collective dreams include going to London to have tea with the Queen, and rafting down the river and off to Africa to go big game hunting.
Although filmed in 1961, Hand in Hand did not receive a theatrical release until April 1963 when it was screened as the supporting feature to The Punch and Judy Man starring Tony Hancock.
The film – shot largely on location in St Albans, Hertfordshire – won 14 international film awards including a special Golden Globe Award for Best Film Promoting International Understanding and the children’s category at the Venice Film Festival.