Archive for August, 2019

The Wonder Kid 1952 – Bobby Henrey


I remember this young boy in The Fallen Idol but know little about his follow-up film The Wonder Kid – filmed partially in Austria where it seems this shot was taken.



Bobby Henrey


The Wonder Kid was actually released here in 1952.   David Raynor, who often provides very welcome and interesting comments of this Blog, is an expert on Bobby Henrey and has kindly agreed to let me post below the comments he has made on imdb :-

While not in the same league as that in “The Fallen Idol”, Bobby Henrey’s performance in his second and last film, “The Wonder Kid”, is just as charming and fascinating to watch. He is totally convincing and often very touching as Sebastian Giro, a ten years old French boy and child musical prodigy found in an orphanage by Mr Gorik (Elwyn Brook-Jones) who exploits the youngster’s talent as a classical pianist and turns him into an international celebrity. He even tells everyone that the boy is only seven years old in order to make the boy wonder’s talent seem all the more remarkable. But Gorik is also a crook who embezzles the takings so that he has almost all the money and Sebastian gets hardly any. Coupled with that, Gorik won’t allow Sebastian to enjoy the simple pleasures of being a little boy, like having a pet dog or playing with other boys or even reading comic books, because, when Sebastian isn’t performing, Gorik isn’t making any money out of him. He works the over tired boy like a slave who must continually practise on the piano. Sebastian’s elderly English governess, Miss Frisbie (Muriel Aked) is very concerned about the boy and confronts Gorik about his crooked activities. But he dismisses her from her post. Miss Frisbie then pays a gang of junior league crooks to “kidnap” Sebastian and take him to stay in a remote lodge in the Austrian Tyrol and Gorik won’t get him back until he’s paid over a huge ransom which is, in effect, all the money he has stolen from the boy. It is here, in this beautiful setting, that the boy finds a freedom and a happiness he has never known and just wants to stay there forever with those who have become his friends. But trouble is on the horizon for him…

This now unjustly forgotten little film is thoroughly entertaining and wonderful to watch.  Apart from the truly picturesque scenery, Bobby Henrey’s performance as the cruelly exploited child prodigy who moves from misery to happiness is just wonderful. Highly recommended.


David’s comments above – and he now informs me that this film has been released on DVD within the last 3 years or so.  I must get a copy.



The Wonder Kid 5


The Wonder Kid – Pictured again with that lovely dog.

The Wonder Kid


The Wonder Kid – ABOVE From the Front Cover of the ABC Film Review – this picture supplied by David Raynor


The Wonder Kid 2


The Wonder Kid – ABOVE  A Front of House Still from the Film – this picture supplied by David Raynor


BELOW – Scenes from the film

The Wonder Kid


The Wonder Kid 2


The Wonder Kid 3


The Wonder Kid 4


The Wonder Kid 5


Scenes from the Film ABOVE


David Raynor did meet up with Robert Henrey at a special showing of The Fallen Idol  at the Regal Cinema in Tenbury Wells back in 2013 – here is what he had to say about that :-

My meeting with Bobby Henrey was a memory to treasure, although not the 180 miles journey there and back.

One thing I remember was that when the opening credits started and Bobby’s name came on the screen, everybody cheered. I certainly didn’t like the insulting remarks Guy Hamilton made about Bobby, that he couldn’t act his way out of a paper bag; that he had the attention span of a demented flea and they used up thousands of feet of film getting one line of dialogue out of him and so on. The truth was that if Bobby had been as bad as that, Carol Reed wouldn’t have had him in the film in the first place, or he would have replaced him early on.


But in truth, he was wonderful in it and was kept on the film until the end of the shoot. For some reason, Hamilton didn’t want Bobby on the film. He wanted a professional child actor. But Carol Reed wanted Bobby and that was that. In any event, he made the right choice. So Hamilton seems to have had it in for Bobby, hence the snide remarks about him.

In complete contrast to Hamilton’s remarks, Karl Hartl, who directed Bobby in his second film, The Wonder Kid, said that Bobby was no trouble at all; that he learned his lines easily and that he only ruined one take, where he spoke about Brookville instead of Brooklyn.

David adds :  I am attaching a photo of Bobby and I together at Tenbury Wells. I’m the one in the blue anorak.

Bobby Henrey with David Raynor 2013


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Hawkeye and the Last of the Mohicans



This is now getting a re-run on Talking Pictures – a welcome one at that.

Hawkeye and the Last of the Mohicans

We all remember the names of Hawkeye and Chingachgook, 

John Hart and Lon Chaney Jnr


 It might seem dated now but who cares – that’s what television was in the 1950s and we loved it.



“Hawkeye and the Last of the Mohicans” was a good Television series imported from the USA as so many were.

Hawkeye and the Last of the Mohicans 2

John Hart starred as Hawkeye – he had played the Lone Ranger for a while earlier than this when Clayton Moore had a disagreement with the Studio, but that was eventually settled and Clayton Moore returned leaving John Hart to move on and later in o this series.

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Erich Wolfgang Korngold


On BBC Radio 4 last evening in the ‘Front Row’ programme there was a very enlightening feature on Erich Wolfgang Korngold – Composer so well known in the Film field because of his days in Hollywood from around 1034 – and probably best known for his rousing score to ‘The Adventure of Robin Hood’ featuring Errol Flynn.


Kings Row

He later scored the film ‘Kings Row’ starring Ronald Reagan – and a clip from this was played on the programme.   Quite often when this work is played people say ‘Star Wars’ but No – it is Kings Row.  Apparently George Lucas wanted a similar dramatic score to his ‘Star Wars’ film and asked the composer to listen and take inspiration from Korngold’s film work, which he did and came up with the one we all know. At Ronald Regan’s Presidential Ball, he had a first rate orchestra and Conductor at the White House to play Korngold’s music, and the President just loved it – particularly the ‘Kings Row’ composition.


Kings Row 2

In  1942, Warner Brothers released the film  “King’s Row,” which included in its cast a 31-year-old actor named Ronald Reagan, who claimed the film “made me a star.” The film’s musical score was by someone already a star – the Austrian-born Erich Wolfgang Korngold, famous for his earlier work for Hollywood swashbucklers like “Captain Blood” and “Robin Hood” starring Errol Flynn.

Kings Row 3

Above: Anne Sheridan with Ronald Reagan


Korngold’s music for “King’s Row” proved unusually popular, and Warner Brothers prepared a form letter politely declining inquiries for sheet music or recordings. Back then, film score recordings were not common, and the big studios were jealously protective of anything – including music – that they owned. It wasn’t until 1979 — 37 years after the release of the film – that a full soundtrack recording of “King’s Row” was released, produced by the composer’s son, George, who was responsible for a major revival of interest in his father’s work. In fact, Korngold’s main title music from “King’s Row” may have provided the model for the American composer John Williams when he wrote his main title music for the 1977 sci-fi swashbuckler “Star Wars.”


Kings Row 4

ABOVE: James Wong Howe – acclaimed film photographer on this film – Kings Row

The main title music for “King’s Row” was requested by the White House in 1981 for use at the inauguration of President Reagan, the star of this film – and later President of the USA


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