Tuesday, February 6, 2024

Night Ferry (1976) - A CFF Film

An ancient Egyptian mummy is stolen from The British Museum and young Jeff (Graham Fletcher) witnesses the criminals carrying the mummy case to their hiding place at the railyards. He wants to go to the police but is afraid to since it would mean confessing that he trespassed on railway property while searching for his model plane. This dangerous act caused a railway worker to be injured. Instead, he recruits his two friends, Nick (Engin Eshref) and Carol (Jayne Tottman) to keep an eye on the master criminal known as Pyramid (Bernard Cribbins) and see if they can track down the mummy themselves.

Night Ferry was one of many Children's Film Foundations distributions released in the United Kingdom during the 1970s. This one is a cut above the rest since the criminals are not the usual bungling sort, although it still is very much juvenile fare. The location scenes around London's Victoria and Clapham stations are nice and the film clips along at a good pace. It actually builds up a fair amount of tension towards the climax when the criminals discover that the children are on their trail. 

Night Ferry was directed by David Eady and written by Michael Barnes who also teamed up to produce the film. This is one of several films that they made together for the Children's Film Foundation. The child actors do an adequate job, although young Jeff was a bit wooden. Bernard Cribbins (The Railway Children, Jackanory) stars as the criminal Pyramid, a master-of-disguise who arranges crimes to order. In this case, a private collector in France wants the mummy for his own collection so they are delivering him via the night ferry across the channel. 

Also in the cast is Aubrey Morris, Jeremy Bulloch and Carole Rousseau...whom some may recognize as the host of the BBC French instructional video course A Vous La France (1984).

Since Night Ferry is only one-hour long, it was later aired on television as one episode of the children's anthology series called Once Upon a Classic, hosted by Bill Bixby. It is currently available on DVD as one of three films on the BFI's Children's Film Foundation Collection "London Tales".

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