Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Tawny Pipit (1944)

Tawny Pipit is a charming British film about a couple of rare visitors to Britain - birds called Twany Pipits. Well technically the film is far less about the birds themselves than how they are treated by the locals, which is used as an extended metaphor of how the British welcome foreigners to these shores (at least, that's the message that the Italian producer, who had been a recipient of such hospitality, wanted to get across).  As such, and combined with its wartime propaganda which appears occasionally, it portrays an extremely idealised version of British attitudes, but for all that it's a film full of gentle humour and a few laugh out loud moments (mainly involving rascally schoolkids).  

Niall MacGuinnis and Rosamund John star, with co-Writer and co-Director Bernard Miles enjoying himself immensely in the supporting role of wheelchair-bound all round good egg Colonel Barton-Barrington.  A surprise hit in the States when it was released there after a 3-year delay, it portrays everything the British would like to believe themselves to be.  A highly enjoyable film, if not altogether believable - and an unusual wartime film with no bullets fired (despite a Russian sniper being a guest in the village and tanks coming perilously close to the birds' nest!).  A devious plot to steal the eggs adds a bit of suspense as well as comic relief to the proceedings.

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