Beautifully made nature film shot in Dartmoor. What more do you need? Extraordinary child actor Mark Lester is the (selectively as it turns out) mute boy whose parents Gordon Jackson and Sylvia Syms are at their wits’ end trying to figure out how to handle him when retired colonel and moorman John Mills helps him get acquainted with a stray white colt and his life is transformed as he has something to care about other than himself. Fiona Fullerton is his friend from a nearby farm and together they set out to tame the horse. It runs off and Lester makes do with a lovely kestrel until … bad things happen. Brilliant as Lester is, it doesn’t quite resolve the problem that the viewer might have of wanting quite frankly to beat his nonsense out of him. (Autism is not my bailiwick, dear reader.) Lester had achieved fame by playing a child with a stutter in Our Mother’s House which led to his being cast in Oliver! The lustrous Syms is a little complicated if not outright neurotic (wouldn’t we all be with a son like that) and Mills gets to do his abject masculinity thing at the end when we narrowly avert a tragedy. However it’s generally a lovely piece of work about the issues around problem children, country life, the incredible light an animal can bring into your life (thank you, gods) and it’s excellently directed on location by Richard C. Sarafian. It’s fabulously shot by Wilkie Cooper and adapted from the novel The White Colt by David Rook. I hadn’t seen this since I was a child myself and I got a lot out of it. It is of course about taming children and perhaps nowadays we understand more about animals and their therapeutic roles in our lives … Mind you, this child does dreadful things to them. Mills and Syms were of course previously seen together in the fantastic Ice Cold in Alex (so that final scene with Mills … is deja vu all over again!) This was Bernard Miles’ last big screen appearance.