The clock struck thirteen. Tom (Way) snuck a slipper in the doorway of his uncle and aunt's apartment, scampered down the great wooden staircase of the old house and opened the backdoor which, he'd been told, led nowhere special. Gilded paintings materialise around the hallway, as he steps into the brilliant daylight of a vast Victorian country garden. Back inside next morning, Tom challenges his aunt and uncle: 'What if someone were lying to you about something they thought you shouldn't know about?' So the twerp thinks they're trying to hoodwink him. It's a thin line between magical and ridiculous, and though this rose-tinted adaptation of Philippa Pearce's timeless fantasy has its heart in the right place, it plainly hasn't much of a head for this stuff. It's no crime that the protagonist is slightly dim, but the film shows no more aptitude than the kid for making sense of the midnight timetrap.
Cast and crew
Nigel Le Vaillant