Smiley


1h 37m 1957

Film Details

Release Date
Jan 1957
Premiere Information
London opening: 11 Jul 1956
Production Company
London Film Productions, Ltd.; Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Distribution Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Country
Australia, Great Britain and United States
Location
Camden,Australia; Gundy,Australia; Rossgole,Australia; Sydney,Australia
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel Smiley by Moore Raymond (London, 1945).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 37m
Color
Color (DeLuxe)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.35 : 1

Synopsis

Smiley Greevins, a plucky young boy living in the Australian bush country, becomes obsessed with owning his own bike after he "borrows" the bicycle of Sgt. Flaxman, the local constable, and rides it into a tree, buckling the front wheel. When Fred Stevens, the spoiled, bullying son of a wealthy family, taunts Smiley with a catalog crammed with toys that he can never afford, the irrepressible Smiley sets his heart on buying a bicycle. Because Smiley comes from a poor family--his mother takes in laundry for the rich while his father spends longs periods away, herding cattle--he sets out to earn the four pounds needed to buy the bike himself. After Reverend Lambeth, the sympathetic village clergyman, gives Smiley a few pence for learning his catechisms, Joey, Smiley's best friend, decides to buy a bike, too, but soon squanders his savings on candy. Soon after, Sgt. Flaxman summons Smiley to his office to inquire about his damaged bike. When Smiley relates his dream of owning his own bicycle, the sergeant contributes to the fund. Touched by the boy's determination, the sympathetic schoolmaster makes a donation and the reverend offers him a job as the church bell ringer. Soon after, a traveling salesman passes through town to deliver some packages to Jim Rankin, the owner of the local pub, who then locks them away in his safe. Rankin is courting Miss Workman, the comely schoolteacher, who is also the object of the sergeant's affection. That Sunday, Fred organizes the other boys to stone Smiley while he rings the church bell. In the ensuing fight, Smiley accidentally hurls a stone through the church window, and when the sergeant arrives to break up the scuffle, Smiley accepts the blame for the broken window, prompting the sergeant to deduct its cost from the boy's hard-earned savings. Rankin, who has been covertly selling opium to the Aborigines, offers Smiley money to deliver one of the packages to the Aborigine camp. After completing his mission, Smiley hurries home and, unaware that the sergeant is visiting, blurts out the story to his mother. Once school ends, the sergeant finds Smiley a job shearing sheep during his vacation, and Joey joins him. At the end of the shearing season, Smiley comes home and greets his father, who has just returned from an extended cattle drive. After his father generously gives Smiley the rest of the money he needs for the bike, Smiley hides his savings under his pillow and runs to town to ask Miss Workman to help him write a letter to the catalog company. As Smiley leaves the teacher's room, Rankin gives him another package to deliver. When their conference is interrupted by Miss Workman, Rankin claims that the parcel contains chocolates. On his way to the Aborigine camp, Smiley encounters Fred and later, Fred tells the sergeant, who is on the trail of the drug dealers, about meeting Smiley. Suspicious of Rankin's motives in hiring Smiley as a delivery boy, the sergeant goes to question the pub owner. There, Miss Workman mentions seeing Rankin handing Smiley a box of chocolates. Upon returning home, Smiley discovers that his father has stolen his savings and gambled them away. In a fit of anger, the boy slams a bat against his pillow and then accidentally hits his father in the head. When the sergeant appears at the door, Smiley, thinking that he has killed his father, runs into the bush. Later, the sergeant shows Miss Workman the wrapping from a package that he found in the Aborigine chief's hut and asks her if the parcel that Rankin gave Smiley had the same wrapping. Although the teacher identifies the wrapping, Rankin disputes her statement. When Smiley fails to return, the sergeant organizes a search party for the boy. In the bush, meanwhile, Bill McVitty, a boundary rider, comes upon Smiley, who has been rendered unconscious by a fall. After Bill revives Smiley, a snake springs from the brush and Smiley is bitten while risking his life to save Bill. Placing the unconscious boy on his horse, Bill gallops out of the brush and meets the search party. Knowing that the boy's life is in danger, they rush him to the doctor's office. In town, meanwhile, Rankin packs his bags, jumps into his car and drives off. As the doctor treats Smiley, the reverend blocks the road with his car, stopping Rankin, and when Rankin protests, the reverend slugs him. After Rankin is arrested, a service is held at the church for the now-recovered Smiley. Bill attends the service, and after praising Smiley for saving his life, presents the boy with a shiny new bike.

Film Details

Release Date
Jan 1957
Premiere Information
London opening: 11 Jul 1956
Production Company
London Film Productions, Ltd.; Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Distribution Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Country
Australia, Great Britain and United States
Location
Camden,Australia; Gundy,Australia; Rossgole,Australia; Sydney,Australia
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel Smiley by Moore Raymond (London, 1945).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 37m
Color
Color (DeLuxe)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.35 : 1

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

The opening and closing cast credits differ slightly in order. The film opens with the following written acknowledgment: "The producers wish to thank all their friends in Australia who co-operated so wholeheartedly in the making of Smiley, and especially those in Sydney, Camden, Gundy and Rossgole, where most of the scenes were shot." Although an onscreen credit reads "Original story by Moore Raymond," Raymond actually published his novel Smiley in 1945. According to an October 1955 Hollywood Reporter news item, Alexander Korda produced the film for Twentieth-Century Fox to satisfy the studio's quota of British-produced films. Korda's company, London Film Productions, Ltd., put up 30% of the financing, according to the Twentieth Century-Fox Records of the Legal Department, located at the UCLA Arts-Special Collections Library. According to a July 1956 Daily Variety news item, the MPAA originally denied Smiley a seal of approval because the story dealt with narcotics, but later reversed its decision after Twentieth Century-Fox appealed the ruling.