Thursday, January 04, 2018

Hunted (1952): Dirk Bogarde and Jon Whiteley

Embed from Getty Images

Tomorrow night at 22:20 Talking Pictures (Freeview 81) is showing the 1952 British film Hunted.

Thrill at an unshaven Dirk Bogarde on the wrong side of the law.

Break your heart at Jon Whiteley, the best British child star of the era.

Enjoy some great industrial landscapes, particularly in the Potteries.

As the blog Discovering Dirk Bogarde says:
The film starts off with a little boy (Jon Whiteley) running away from a burning house. He runs into an abandoned basement and finds Dirk Bogarde standing next to a dead body. Dirk Bogarde abducts the boy and sets out on the lam. 
The film is very dark and definitely has that distinct British post-war cynicism. But it's also incredibly touching. The little boy is an orphan, abused by his adoptive father. Dirk is a sailor with an unfaithful wife and a family that cares more about keeping up appearances than his own well being. Both neglected and hurt, the two forge an unlikely bond throughout the course of the film. 
I really love movies that show the human side of people who commit crimes. Too often a murderer or thief is portrayed in a completely evil light, with no reason, conscience or feeling. In this film, we see how Dirk Bogarde's character was led to commit his crime because of circumstances and environment, because of pride and honor. At heart, he is really a softy who just wanted a fairy-tale sort of life with the woman he loved.
Jon Whiteley, because he was retired early by his parents, avoided the unhappy fate of many child stars.

Growing up to become an art historian, he has worked at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford for decades.

Embed from Getty Images


Jean said...

What a superb film what more can I say superb

Anonymous said...

May I draw your attention to my glowing review of “HUNTED” on the amazon uk page for the film. It's the best review I've ever written. The film was made in 1951 and released by Rank in February, 1952, so the date of November 17th, 1952, on the photo of Jon Whiteley sketching should read 1951. A total of eight photographs of Dirk Bogarde and Jon Whiteley making the film were featured in the November 17th, 1951, issue of Picture Post. This photo may have been taken as part of the set, but wasn't published in the magazine at the time.

David Rayner, Stoke on Trent.

Unknown said...

Sadly, Jon Whiteley passed away on May 19th, 2020, at the age of 75. His cause of death hasn't been reported, but I recently saw a photo of him taken last December (2019) and he looked quite ill on it.

David Rayner, Stoke on Trent.