Melody (1971 film)
|Directed by||Waris Hussein|
|Produced by||David Puttnam|
|Written by||Alan Parker|
Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
|Edited by||John Victor Smith|
|Distributed by||British Lion Films|
Melody (originally marketed as S.W.A.L.K. in the UK — 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) is a 1971 British film directed by Waris Hussein about puppy love. 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 as well as in some Latin American countries such as Argentina and Chile, and a modest hit in South Africa.
This romantic story is told through the viewpoint of the children in the story, the adults playing only supporting roles. Daniel Latimer befriends the troublesome Ornshaw. However, when Daniel falls in love with Melody Perkins, 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 children's hideouts to 'marry' the couple, with their discovery leading to a final showdown between children and teachers.
- Mark Lester as Daniel Latimer
- Tracy Hyde as Melody Perkins
- Jack Wild as Ornshaw
- Colin Barrie as Chambers
- Billy Franks as Burgess
- Ashley Knight as Stacey
- Craig Marriott as Dadds
- William Vanderpuye as O'Leary
- Peter Walton as Fensham
- Camille Davies as Muriel
- Dawn Hope as Maureen
- Kay Skinner as Peggy
- Lesley Roach as Rhoda
- Sheila Steafel as Mrs. Latimer
- Keith Barron as Mr. Latimer
- Kate Williams as Mrs Perkins
- Roy Kinnear as Mr. Perkins
- Hilda Barry as Grandma Perkins
- James Cossins as Headmaster
- Ken Jones as Mr. Dicks
- June Jago as Miss Fairfax
- June C. Ellis as Miss Dimkins
- Tim Wylton as Mr. Fellows
- John Gorman as Boys' Brigade Captain
- Petal Young as Betty
- Robin Hunter as George
- Tracy Reed as (Television Film) Woman in Hospital
- Neil Hallett as (Television Film) Man in Hospital
- Leonard Brockwell as Boys' Group
- Stephen Mallett as Boys' Group
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.. The seaside scenes in the latter part of the film were shot in Weymouth, Dorset.
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. 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.
Melody was mastered in Region 2 format on DVD by Kadokawa Pictures in Japan. Kadokawa released it on Region A Blu-ray in Japan on December 22, 2015 and StudioCanal released it on Region B Blu-ray on May 8, 2017.
- 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
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