Melody (1971 film)
|Directed by||Waris Hussein|
|Produced by||Ronald S. Kass
|Written by||Andrew Birkin
|Music by||The Bee Gees|
|Editing by||John Victor Smith|
|Distributed by||British Lion Films|
|Running time||103 minutes|
Melody is a 1971 British film directed by Waris Hussein about "puppy love". It was released as S.W.A.L.K. in the United Kingdom (S.W.A.L.K. is a message traditionally written on the envelopes of love letters by British schoolchildren, standing for Sealed With A Loving Kiss). The film starred Jack Wild, Mark Lester and Tracy Hyde. Although the film was a box office disappointment in both the United States and Britain, it turned out to be an enormous hit in Japan, and in some Latin American countries such as Argentina and Chile.
This romantic story is told through the viewpoint of the children in the story, the adults playing only supporting roles. Daniel Latimer (Mark Lester) befriends the troublesome Ornshaw (Jack Wild). However, when Daniel falls in love with Melody Perkins (Tracy Hyde), the boys' friendship becomes jeopardized as Ornshaw grows jealous of the amount of time that Daniel gives her. Initially embarrassed by the attention, Melody comes to return Daniel's feelings, and the couple announce to their parents that they want to get married. Not sometime in the future, but now.
The adults attempt to dissuade them, but Daniel and Melody's determination leads Ornshaw to have a change of heart. Their classmates gather together at one of the childrens' hideouts to 'marry' the couple, with their discovery leading to a final showdown between children and teachers.
- Tracy Hyde as Melody Perkins
- Mark Lester as Daniel Latimer
- Jack Wild as Ornshaw
- Sheila Steafel as Mrs. Latimer
- Keith Barron as Mr. Latimer
- Roy Kinnear as Mr. Perkins
- Hilda Barry as Grandma Perkins
- Peter Walton as Fensham
- Kay Skinner as Peggy
- William Vanderpuye as O'Leary
- Camille Davies as Muriel
- Craig Marriott as Dadds
- Billy Franks as Burgess
- Tim Wylton as Mr. Fellows
- June Jago as Miss Fairfax
- Neil Hallett as Television Film - Man in hospital
- Ken Jones as Mr. Dicks
- Lesley Roach as Rhoda
- Colin Barrie as Chambers
- June C. Ellis as Miss Dimkins
- James Cossins as Headmaster
- Kate Williams as Mrs. Perkins
- Dawn Hope as Maureen
- John Gorman as Boys' Brigade Captain
- Robin Hunter as George
- Stephen Mallett as Boys' Group
- Ashley Knight as Stacey
- Tracy Reed as Woman in Hospital, TV Film
- Leonard Brockwell
Film production began in the Spring of 1970 shooting on location in Hammersmith, and Lambeth in the greater London area. Post-production was completed at the Twickenham Studios. The graveyard scenes of the film were shot on location at Brompton Cemetery and Nunhead Cemetery.
Mark Lester (Daniel Latimer) and Jack Wild (Ornshaw) had previously appeared together in the 1968 musical film adaptation of Oliver!. They were joined by the child model Tracy Hyde in the title role. Other cast members included Kate Williams as Melody's mother, Roy Kinnear as her father, Sheila Steafel as Daniel's mother, with Ken Jones, and James Cossins.
The film's musical soundtrack included songs by the Bee Gees ("In the Morning", "Melody Fair", "Give Your Best", and the hit singles "To Love Somebody" and "First of May"), and the Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young hit "Teach Your Children".
This was the first screenplay by film director Alan Parker. Parker did some second-unit direction for the film, shooting the montage sequences of the school children at break-time and at the track meet. Because of its enormous success in Japan, the film has been mastered in Region 2 format on DVD by Kadokawa Herald Pictures in Japan. This was the feature film debut of then child model and commercial actress Tracy Hyde at the age of 11. Writer/Director Andrew Birkin recommended Tracy Hyde for the title role of Melody Perkins to director Waris Hussein, after screening and auditioning over 100 girls. Actor Jack Wild, who played Ornshaw was actually 17 at the time of the production.[unreliable source]
- Alexander Walker, National Heroes: British Cinema in the Seventies and Eighties, Harrap, 1985 p 67
- Commentaries, specially #410; Melody: Cine o educación emocional, by Daniela, 2005
- Melody DVD; production notes
- Melody movie soundtrack; Universal International
- Internet Movie Database "Melody"
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