The Children's Film Foundation made a number of good little mysteries in the 1960s, one of which was Wings of Mystery, released in 1963. This British film tells the story of a brother and sister ( Hennie Scott and a young Judy Geeson ) who try to help their brother Ted ( Richard Carpenter ) when he is accused of stealing a new secret alloy from the iron plant where he works. The children suspect McCarthy, another employee, who will be taking a trip to Belgium to race pigeons. They believe he snuck the alloy sample out of the plant by tying it to the feet of a pigeon and will be selling it to foreign agents. Since the children are also avid pigeons racers, they follow him to Belgium in an attempt to apprehend him.
Pigeon racing films are quite rare and this is one of the best in the genre. Audiences get to witness some splendid action shots of the pigeons in flight, especially that of Sir Lancelot who was the lead pigeon in Wings of Mystery.
Unfortunately, the performances of the human actors are rather stiff, but CFF films were never known for featuring quality acting ( most of them cast new young actors or children from the villages where the pictures were being filmed ). Wings of Mystery does have one talented youngster - Judy Geeson, who was only 15 years old at the time. Geeson would go on to have quite a long career in both film and television starring opposite Sidney Poitier in To Sir, with Love ( 1967 ), Joan Crawford in Berserk ( 1968 ), and John Wayne in Brannigan ( 1975 ).
Also in the cast is Patrick Jordan, Arnold Ridley, and Anthony Jacobs. The movie is only 55-minutes long so it is worth checking out, and if you enjoy it, take a peek at Sky Pirates ( 1977 ), another CFF release, this time with children who use their model airplanes to battle diamond smugglers.
I remember Judy Geeson from an episode of MURDER, SHE WROTE where she played the wife of a preacher who had a TV show. Steve Forrest, a good actor and a very attractive man, played the preacher. Frank Bonner, Art Hindle, Barbi Benton, & Dick Van Patten were also in the episode. Plus Richard Herd, Jack Bannon & Mildred Natwick. Besides Judy I named eight people and I am familiar with the work of all eight of them.ReplyDelete
Geeson also played in another great "Murder She Wrote" episode called Paint Me a Murder with Cesar Romero and Stewart Granger. In the early seasons of MSW, every episode was chock full of wonderful guest stars!Delete
I remember when CFF movies were shown on Sunday afternoons in the early 1970s. I don’t recall this one, but am Judy Geeson fan. In addition to her other films mentioned, she was excellent in the original POLDARK series that aired in the 1970s (on Masterpiece Theater in the U.S.).ReplyDelete
Yes, Rick, I had forgotten that Geeson was in Poldark! She did a lot of good television work.Delete
This film is also interesting for shots of Sheffield in the early 1960s, particularly of the enormous Firth Brown steelworks where the climax of the film takes place. Judy Geeson's Yorkshire accent is embarrassingly poor though, along with many of the cast, although Arnold Ridley and the actor playing the older brother make reasonable attempts at the Sheffield accent. One for the purists, I'm afraid: strictly pigeon fanciers and Sheffielders.ReplyDelete