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London Tales (BFI) in July

On 23 July 2012 the BFI will release The Children's Film Foundation - London Tales, the first themed DVD collection of films made by the CFF, containing The Salvage Gang (1958), Operation Third Form (1966) and Night Ferry (1976).

The Children's Film Foundation was a non-profit making pan-industry initiative, set up in 1951 by the owner of the Odeon and Rank cinema chains to make home-grown entertainment for young cinemagoers to see at the ‘Saturday morning pictures’.

For over 30 years the CFF produced quality entertainment for young audiences, employing the cream of British filmmaking talent. Michael Powell, Lewis Gilbert, Alberto Cavalcanti and John Krish all worked for it and famous film and TV names such as Francesca Annis, Michael Crawford, Susan George, Richard O’Sullivan, Dennis Waterman, Keith Chegwin, Gary Kemp, Leslie Ash, Phil Collins, Sadie Frost and Matthew Wright all started out in CFF films.

After many years out of distribution, these much-loved and fondly-remembered family films return to the screen, newly transferred from the best-available elements held in the BFI National Archive which now preserves the entire collection of around 400 films.

In London Tales, the first DVD volume, villains, conmen and plain bad luck are no match for plucky London youngsters. Directed by acclaimed filmmaker John Krish (I Think They Call Him John), The Salvage Gang is an affectionate tour of bomb-damaged London, featuring performances from a young Frazer Hines (Doctor Who, Emmerdale) and a cameo by Wilfred Brambell (Steptoe and Son).

With its groovy 1960s soundtrack, Operation Third Form (1966), by CFF veteran David Eady, is a pacey boys’ own adventure starring a fresh-faced John Moulder Brown (Deep End).

Night Ferry (1976) stars Bernard Cribbins (The Railway Children, Doctor Who) as ‘Pyramid’, a dastardly master-of-disguise who plans to smuggle an ancient Egyptian mummy out of the country. When young Jeff, played by Graham Fletcher-Cook, discovers the plan, a dangerous chase via South London’s Victoria Station and Clapham Junction ensues.

Features include:

  • Brand new High Definition transfers of all films
  • Topic – Children’s Theatre (1959, 14 mins): US TV show Topic on the work of the Children’s Film Foundation, with John Krish on the set of The Salvage Gang, J Arthur Rank and the CFF director Mary Field
  • Illustrated booklet with essays by Andrew Roberts and Vic Pratt


Those of you in London might be interested in a screening of two of the films...

Screening at BFI Southbank – Saturday 21 July at 3.10pm with special guests
The Salvage Gang and Operation Third Form will be screened at BFI Southbank on Saturday 21 July at 3.10pm in the Capital Tales strand, introduced by director John Krish and The Salvage Gang actors Frazer Hines and Amanda Coxell.
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Last updated: 07/08/2018 01:36:23

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