16mm, 1960's, 7 Candles, Uncategorized





DIRECTOR: Richard C. Sarafian

May contain spoilers!

Based on the novel by David Rook, John Mills stars as a Moorman on Darmoor, who befriends a twelve year old boy, who has been mute since he was three years old. He attempts to relate to the boy through the nature of the moor, as young Philip, Mark Lester best known as Oliver Twist in Carol Reed’s Oliver! (1968), befriends a pony and is given a bird, one whcih he almost kills!

But, as you might expect from a bleak coming of age drama set in England of this time, it all kind of works out in the end, but tears are inevitable. The characters are reasonably well fleshed out and Mills centres the film as you might expect. This is also a re-pairing of Mills and Syliva Syms, who plays Philip’s mother, from their more famous outing in Ice Cold In Alex (1958).

Run Wild Run Free--(None)This is one of those stories where your sympathies, well, mine at least, are tested by the grim nature of the characters and their bleak surroundings. Philip is clearly a troubled boy, his mother is at her wits end and his father, Gordon Jackson is trying to see the best in his troubled youth, but as Mills attempts to relate to the boy, damage is done.

The bird is almost killed by Philip and the pony, who he has also named Philip, is all but left to die in a marsh in the finale, all because of Philip’s bad choices. Just because all is well that ends well is not good enough. Everyone around this boy is expected to sacrifice something in his healing process and noble though that is, is it fair? Is it realistic?

Either way, it may be somewhat inspiring but I found it to be more

An image of reel three (16mm), showing the some of chemical deterioration of the print.

irritating than anything else. A bleak family movie for a generation of Brits who were told the cold harsh truth about life on a daily basis.


I had the privileged of watching this on 16mm, all three reels of it. Whist it is always great to see a film projected from, for want a of a better word, an “analogue” source, from an original film print, there are drawbacks. The most obvious example being that of the “Magenta fade” issue, especially from Eastman or Kodak film stocks of the time. This is where much of the colour and contrast has faded from the print, leaving little but Magenta behind.

And this print had suffered as many had. But if I had wanted to watch this in pristine condition, the DVD would have been and always will be my

A still from the 16mm viewing, complete with Magenta Fade. (And presumably in the wrong aspect ratio?)

primary choice, hat or Blu-ray of course, but there is more to watching films that seeing them at their best. This print was at worst, a 1970’s domestic print, at best a semi-professional copy, may be even from the film’s release year, 1969.

It is not easy to trace 16mm prints back to sources these days but presumably not impossible. Either way, whilst not perfect, this was a viewing choice which whilst not presenting the film at its best, it was presented with character and a kind of purity or authenticity.

 Photography by ©nEoPOL 2016 All rights reserved

2 thoughts on “RUN WILD, RUN FREE”

  1. I totally agree with you watching “film” has a totally different feel to it,and I guess it will not be very long before the generation that grew up watching “film” in cinema has faded away just like the print that you were referring to you.Whilst digital projection has now almost taken over all over there are still a few places left that you can watch projected film.

    I have the advantage of living near to the Media Museum in Bradford where they still regularly show “film”. They have a wide screen week end every year in which they mainly show film and of course sometimes the prints they show have the magenta faded colour in them but I still feel that “film” is best.

    Stuart Mallinson Keighley

    1. Thanks for your comment and support.

      I have been to Bradford a few times since it opened. In fact, back in 1993 I saw the first half of This Is Cinerama and it had profound influence on my budding interest in film. I was just 14 at the time.

      I attended this year’s Widescreen Weekend and watched How The West Was Won and The Best Of Cinerama. Loved every minute of it and am hoping to attend this year if possible.




Leave a Reply

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

WordPress.com Logo

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

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google 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 )

Connecting to %s