Review: ‘The Boy with Green Hair’

RKO has turned out an absorbing, sensitive story of tolerance and child understanding in The Boy with Green Hair.

RKO has turned out an absorbing, sensitive story of tolerance and child understanding in The Boy with Green Hair.

Story [by Betsy Beaton] is that of a war orphan, shifted around from one relative to another, who finally finds haven and security with a waiter in a small town. Then, one morning, he wakes to find his hair has turned green – and the world turns topsy-turvey about him. Other kids jeer at him; adults are perturbed; even the kindly milkman turns against him when accused of bringing it about through his product.

Film was made by Dore Schary for RKO before Howard Hughes gained control of the studio, and in its small way was one of the things that caused Schary to step out of the RKO setup. Pic had been completed, but Hughes ordered it to be re-edited and the tolerance theme taken out, on Hughes’ general theory that films should entertain only and eschew social significance. Studio found that pic couldn’t be re-edited, although it’s reported to be toned down somewhat.

Through this parable about the unconscious cruelty of people to what is different, and the need of tolerance, runs another theme, that of anti-war preachment. When the boy meets children from war-orphan posters in a dream scene in the woods, and returns to annoy the townsfolk with the message that war is very bad – his green hair has thus acquired a meaning, to preach pacifism – the film hits a well-intentioned but false note.

The Boy with Green Hair


RKO. Director Joseph Losey; Producer Stephen Ames; Screenplay Ben Barzman, Alfred Lewis Levitt; Camera George Barnes; Editor Frank Doyle; Music Leigh Harline; Art Director Albert S. D'Agostino, Ralph Berger


(Color) Available on VHS. Extract of a review from 1948. Running time: 82 MIN.


Pat O'Brien Robert Ryan Barbara Hale Dean Stockwell Richard Lyon Walter Catlett

Filed Under:

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 0

Leave a Reply

No Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More Film News from Variety