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Melody (1971)

Oliver! boys Jack Wild and Mark Lester are now bigger and older and star in this amusing and delightful film – filled with images of beauty and innocence – about two 10-year-olds who create an uproar for their parents when they decide they want to get married as soon as possible.

Melody isn’t burdened with too much plot: Students, boys and girls, run about the halls of a well-preserved old grammar school in South London, seldom seen in classrooms and often playing pranks on each other – and occasionally on a teacher. The boys play their games on a lovely old campus while the girls are more interested in the latest pop singer than in their male classmates.

Things heat up slightly with a bond formed between Ornshaw (Jack Wild) and Daniel Latimer (Mark Lester). Ornshaw is a toughie, an orphan living with his grandfather. He has little more than bus fare in his pocket and usually walks to and from school to save that for luxuries.

 

Danny is the rich boy who takes a taxi home if his shallow, social-climbing mother (Sheila Steafel) and indifferent father (Keith Barron) fail to fetch him. Shy but not a goody-goody, he needs a chum. Ornshaw, unimpressed by Danny’s affluence, fills the bill.

The story reaches boiling point when Danny and Melody Perkins (Tracy Hyde) become an item, separating the friends. it finally boils over in a wild, hilariously funny student revolution.

David Puttnam’s first production – from Alan Parker’s first script – was first released as Melody, then swiftly retitled S.W.A.L.K, as in “Sealed with a Loving Kiss”.

Puttnam had bought the rights to a handful of songs by The Bee Gees which had to be incorporated into a story. So Parker came up with this tale of two kids at a south London comprehensive whose friendship is tested when a pretty girl comes into their social orbit.

Danny (Daniel) Latimer
Mark Lester 
Melody Perkins 

Tracy Hyde
Ornshaw

Jack Wild
Chambers

Colin Barrie
Muriel

Camille Davis
Burgess

Billy Franks 
Stacey

Ashley Knight
Dadds

Craig Marriott
O’Leary

William Vanderpuye
Fensham

Peter Walton
Maureen

Dawn Hope
Peggy

Kay Skinner
Rhoda

Lesley Roach
Mrs Latimer 

Sheila Steafel
Mr Latimer
Keith Barron
Mr Perkins
Roy Kinnear 
Mrs Perkins

Kate Williams 
Grandma Perkins

Hilda Barry
Headmaster

James Cossins 
Mr Dicks 

Ken Jones 
Miss Fairfax

June Jago
Miss Dimkins 

June Ellis
Mr Fellows

Tim Wylton 
Betty

Petal Young
George

Robin Hunter

Director
Waris Hussein

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