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Boy with Green Hair, The

Film (1948). RKO. Directed by Joseph Losey. Executive producer Dory Schary. Producer Stephen Ames. Written by Ben Barzman and Alfred Lewis Levitt. Cast includes Barbara Hale, Pat O'Brien, Robert Ryan and Dean Stockwell. 82 minutes. Colour.

Allegorical and thoughtful anti-War film about a young war orphan whose hair unexplainedly turns bright green. He is made the object of ridicule by other children and a scapegoat by some of the adult community. The ghosts (see Supernatural Creatures) of deceased war orphans visit him and explain that his hair will remind people how dangerous war is to children. Both the hair colour change and the visit from the dead orphans are treated with a degree of ambiguity, as the story is told by the boy to a doctor in a series of flashbacks. The novelette "The Boy with Green Hair" (1947 This Week) by Betsy Beaton on which it was based was more about racism (see Race in SF), a theme somewhat downplayed in the film; the added anti-war message nevertheless resulted in the writers and director being blacklisted.

As Tom August, the co-screenwriter Levitt later acted as story editor for eight episodes of The Bionic Woman (1976-1978) and also wrote two episodes. [LW]

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Entry from The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction edited by John Clute, David Langford, Peter Nicholls and Graham Sleight.
Accessed 06:24 am on 8 December 2019.
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