Sammy Going South
Time Out saysWhile widely regarded as an example of Mackendrick's decline after the masterpiece that was Sweet Smell of Success, this is certainly not the mere 'family fodder' that disappointed Leslie Halliwell. Indeed, like A High Wind in Jamaica and Mandy, it is another of the director's dark, somewhat sour studies in child psychology: as the young McClelland, suddenly orphaned during an air-raid on Port Said, makes his long and lonely journey down through Africa in search of his aunt in Durban, he encounters all kinds of danger and criminality with barely a blink of an eye. If the pace is oddly flaccid in places and the photography sometimes verges on travelogue territory, there is no denying the vitality of the performances, Robinson being particularly affecting as the diamond mining outlaw who takes Sammy temporarily under his wing. Indeed, as in High Wind, it is the adults, rather than Sammy, who finally suffer the most, and the film stands alongside The Man in the White Suit, Whisky Galore! and The Ladykillers as a sceptical overturning of conventional ideas about innocence and experience.