"Five Children and It" deals with a World War I evacuation of London as a result of the Zephlin raids, a early experience of the much larger evacuations of World War II. The Zephlin attacks were in fact one reason the British were prepared for the Luftwaffe in the Battle of Britain. Freddie Highmore appeared in the film "Five Children and It" based on the book by E. Nesbit, a wonderful author of children's books. Freddie played Robert. "It" is Psanmead a sand fairy, but a bit different than your run of the mill fairy. Psanmead is a very old and rather ugly fairy and not very good natured. The children find Psanmead in a gravel pit. Psanmead grants them one wish each day, but the wish only lasts until sunset. The children soon discover that they are hard pressed to come up with reasonable wishes. And the wishes they are granted cause all kinds of unexpected probelms.
Freddie Highmore appeared in the film "Five Children and It". Freddie played Robert. He is joined by Jonathon Bailey playing the part of his older, bossy brother. Poppy Rogers and Jessica Claridge playing the part of his sisters. It looks like the baby (Lamb) was played by two children ,.. Alec & Zac Muggleton. They were obviously twins because it is hard to tell them apart. >br>
The film is based on the book by E. Nesbit, a wonderful author of children's books. She is better known for The Railway Children, written a few years after this book. A reader writes, "The Walt Disney made film, "Five Children and it" is not faithful to the book. In the book the story takes place in Edwardian England long before World War I. In fact the book was written before the War. The children are on holiday in Norfolk, the seaside town might be Croner. While the film is accurate to how boys were clothed then it is unfortunately that it differes from the book in this way."
Edith Nesbit was the the daughter of John Collis Nesbit, a school teacher. She was born into a very conservative family in 1858. Her father ran schools in Bradford, Manchester and London as well as agricultural schools. He died when Edith was very young, only 6 years old. This cause financial problems for the family as their father was the principal bread earner. Edith was unhappy at an English boarding school. Edith's mother took her to the Continent where she was eduicated in French and German schools--an expensive proposition. Edith began publishing poems when they returnd to England. This eventually led to her wonderful books.
Robert along with otherchildren is evacuated from London as a result of the German Zepplin raids. The movie is staged in the summer of 1917 when England was in the height
of sending their children into the country to escape the war. Their Father who is a navigator on a bomber is called into service and the children worry about him coming home safely from the war. All five children are packed onto a train under the supervision of the oldest one, Cyril (Jonathon Bailey) and he tries to exert his authority over the rest of the family but Robert (Freddie Highmore) doesn't take to kindly to this. He rebels at every opportunity adding some spice into
the film. They eventually arrive at their mad uncles (Kevin Brannagh) house to be confronted by a family that is in total confusion. They are all eccentrics including Uncle Alberts son Horace (Alexander Powell) Even the housekeeper Martha (Zoe Wanamaker) appears to be batty as well,
but she knows more than what she lets on. She is always helping the children out of scrapes with no fuss attached. They start exploring the house and eventually come across the forbidden
greenhouse which leads them through secret passages and eventually to the beach/gravel pit where they discover the Psammead. It" is Psanmead a sand fairy, but a bit different than your run of the mill fairy. Psanmead is a very old and rather ugly fairy and not very good natured.
The children are amused at the antics of the Psammeadcrustaceousdecapodlianwishasaurus or Sand
Fairy for short. Psanmead grants them one wish each day, but the wish only lasts until sunset. The children soon discover that they are hard pressed to come up with reasonable wishes. And the wishes they are granted cause all kinds of unexpected probelms. The only wish that really becomes successful is when they wish for the safe return of their Father from the War.
World War I was the first war in which the airplane played a major role. "Five Children and It" deals with a World War I evacuation of London as a result of the Zeppelin raids, a early experience of the much larger evacuations of World War II. Nombing cities was limited during the War. The Zephin raids were the primary bombing raids. The Allies were, however, prepring a strategic bombing campaign against Germany in 1919. The War ended before it was begun.
The Zeppelin attacks had a negligivle impact on the British war effort, but they had a profound impact on the British people--the Channel no longer protected them. There was an aerial attack by the Germans on London in 1917 about 160 Londoners were killed.
The raids one reason the British were prepared for the Luftwaffe when the Germans came again in the Battle of Britain (1940).
Our British reader writes, "I do not believe it is historically accurate to World War II either. I have not read anything about there being an evacuation of children from London during thee War because of Zepplin bombing raids. I think these air raids were sporodic and did not amount to much. Lancashire towns were bombed too but there was no evacuation of children. Zepplins were terrifying, but they were easy to shoot down.
Memory of the raids might have been a factor in anticipating air raids in World War II. If this was the case then British politicians would have been far sighted in recalling the Zepplin bombing in war time plans. It is a good film though." It is true that the Zepplins were easy to shoot down, if they could be found. But this was before radar. Remember, a large part of the reason that the Luftwaffe could not knock the RAF out in World War I was the Chain Home Radar Network. The problem in World War I was finding the Zepplins. The raids were indeed sporadic, but they also terrified Londoners. I think the Germans eventually discontinued them because they had no really military impact nd Zepplins were bding lost, mostly because of weather conditions.
This is a great family movie which depicts reasonably faithfully the clothing from that period. You can see this in the cord shorts that Robert wears which is being held up by a snake belt. Part of the way through the movie when they are test driving a car, you see a scout troop marching through the village in full uniform. You will also see snippets of older children dressed in sailor suits or short trousers but you will have to be quick to spot these.
A reader writes, "I thought it was strange about the evacuation because all war movies I have seen relate the evacuations to World War II. You are right about the Zeppelins, they do feature in
part of the movie where the children sprout wings through one of their wishes. They are flying around and come across some zeppelins on their way to attack London. This was much to the surprise of the Germans. I can't think of any other movies from World War I where the children are
evacuated." A reader writes, "I have seen the film. I thought the makers were trying to cash in in the way the The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe started."
A reader tells us, "There is a better BBC Television version of '5 Children and It'. I am not sure when it was produced."
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