Friday, January 29, 2021

The Child of Glass ( 1978 )

"Murder, Mystery...and Ghosts!" So reads the VHS cover of The Child of Glass and the film did indeed feature murder, mystery, and ghosts. The story, based on the novel "The Ghost Belonged to Me" by Richard Peck, tells the tale of a young boy - Alexander Armsworth ( Steve Shaw ) - who befriends Inez, the ghost of a Creole girl, in an old barn on the property his family just moved into. It's a sprawling Louisiana colonial that was once owned by a riverboat captain and is rumored to have a hidden treasure on the property. The ghost of Inez is not interested in treasure. She just wants to be reunited with her parents and pleads with Alexander to help release her from a decades-old curse by solving this riddle: 

Sleeping lies the murdered lass.
Vainly cries the child of glass.
When the two shall be as one,
the spirit's journey will be done.

The riddle must be solved by the stroke of midnight on All Hallow's Eve. Alexander has no clue what it means, but since Inez tells him that he has only a few days to solve it before she disappears in limbo forever, he sets to work on it with the aid of his friend Blossom ( Katy Kurtzman ). 

Blossom Culp lives with her palm-reading Aunt Lavina ( Nina Foch ) who insists that Alexander is gifted "to perceive the spirits!". He doesn't believe in such nonsense but Blossom and her crazy aunt are the only two people he can turn to for help. His parents ( Biff McGuire and Barbara Barrie ) are busy preparing the house for an old-fashioned costume party and his older sister ( Denise Nickerson ) doesn't have much interest in Alexander's ramblings about ghosts and curses. 

The Child of Glass is not a scary ghost story in any way, nor is it particularly engrossing as a mystery, but - like most Disney films - it still remains very entertaining. This is in no small part due to the engaging performances of the child actors playing the two leads - Alexander and Blossom. Steve Shaw is adorable as the southern-talking mop-haired lad. Olivia Baresh also gives a good performance as little Inez, the blue-glowing ghost. Also in the cast is Anthony Zerbe as a drunken handyman, Jack Radar as the local sheriff, and character actress Irene Tedrow as the high-and-mighty Miss Merrywether. 

The Child of Glass premiered on television as part of Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color on May 14, 1978 and was rebroadcast periodically on television throughout the 1980s. Today, you can find it on DVD as part of Disney's Generation Collection. 

3 comments:

  1. I don't recall the title, but it sounds like a perfect Sunday afternoon escape.

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    1. Disney released so many TV movies, it's hard to keep track of them all.... but this one is good entertainment - for any day of the week!

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