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When Horst Buchholz (the member of the Magnificent Seven nobody likes) gets off the boat in Tiger Bay, he looks like he's going to be James Dean on the Welsh Waterfront. Then he commits a murder, and we realize this is really the story of the young girl who witnesses it (Hayley Mills in her first film, just before she became a Disney star), but doesn't give him away. Why not? Well, there's a fascination with his gun, and a kind of crush developing from that, and an open door to escaping her life on the streets of a Cardiff slum, perhaps it's even that she's a pathological liar, but nothing is necessarily spelled out. Both leads are perhaps at their best and most effective here, and it's hard not to root for Buchholz to escape the law even after what he did (and yet, I was always like, wait, are they going to break movie convention by letting him get away with it?!). What I like most about this movie is that it keeps surprising you, turning left when you think it will go right, and yet always absolutely consistent in terms of its characters and what they would do.
Great film. One of the best ever juvenile performances by Hayley Mills.
Much better than I expected. Haley Mills was marvelous and not at all irritating to watch like most child actresses can be. The honesty of the bond between the two leads is so refreshing.
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