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Whistle Down The Wind (1961)

A group of scruffy, adorable children, led by gumdrop-eyed Hayley Mills, discover injured escaped convict Arthur Blakey (Alan Bates) sleeping in their barn in Lancashire and think he’s Jesus Christ.

They hide him from the town in a manger, but news that Christ is living in the barn travels quickly to the other children in the village, they bring Blakey food and wine to earn his approval.

The kids try to keep the secret from their parents, but when the authorities come around looking for him, the children, remembering Christ’s persecution, do their best to protect their undeserving new friend.

When Blakey is betrayed by accident the police move in to arrest him, but by this time his attitude has softened and he surrenders peaceably rather than endanger the lives of any of the children.

This remarkable allegory by Bryan Forbes is the kind of thing the British do better than anyone else, and this is a rare, offbeat classic that deserves a wider audience than critics who are always praising it but who can never find it playing anywhere except film festivals.

Based on the novel by Mary Hayley Bell, Whistle Down The Wind was produced by Richard Attenborough with a screenplay by Keith Waterhouse and Willis Hall.

Kathy Bostock
Hayley Mills
Mr Bostock

Bernard Lee
The Man (Arthur Blakey)
Alan Bates

Norman Bird
Auntie Dorothy

Elsie Wagstaff
Charles Bostock

Alan Barnes
Nan Bostock

Diane Holgate

Gerald Sim
Sunday School Teacher

Diane Clare
Salvation Army Girl

Patricia Heneghan

Hamilton Dyce

Howard Douglas
Superintendent Teesdale

John Arnatt
PC Thurstow

Ronald Hines

Bryan Forbes