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The God Boy

Television (Full Length) – 1976

David Cade
17 Nov 2019 - 07.11am
I recently re-read "Hand Me Down", the extraordinary and moving account of the tragic childhood of the New Zealander Leigh Bonheur (pseudonym), then wondered what other accounts of troubled childhoods may have arisen in New Zealand, and so found a copy of Ian Cross's "The God Boy", which then astounded me.

I remember "The God Boy" was available and much-talked about during my childhood in New Zealand in the 1950s and 1960s, but various forces at work in the country at that time "informed" me that I ought not to read it. Well, I have now finally read it, so many decades later, in 2019, and I see why some people deterred me from reading it while I was at school. Moreover I wish I had seen this TV adaptation, but by 1976, when this film was first shown, I was working in Australia and it didn't make a sufficient splash there for me to become aware of it.

This is an another important tale from New Zealand, and this TV adaptation has some very fine Ibsenesque qualities. I would very much like to hear that "The God Boy" is to be re-made into a feature film, because if it were given the treatment of, let's say, "Once Were Warriors", it would have greater power and impact. The violence, verbal and physical, between Jimmy's parents needs to be shown convincingly, regardless of its horror. Similarly Jimmy's stone-throwing at the old lady, the Hindu green-grocer, and Bloody Jack also deserve the power delivered by a modern treatment.

Thanks again, NZ On Screen, for yet another superb experience!
wendy joseph
wendy joseph
1 May 2013 - 09.51pm
Totally engrossing. Frightening in its brave and stark portrayal of the effects of dysfunction and the conspiracy of silence which dictated the secular life of affected children in the 1940's and '50s. I loved this film. It has disturbed a few sleeping giants in my own psyche, and that's the name of the game isn't it?
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