Wednesday, June 17, 2020


I had the pleasure of watching for the first time in over a decade Bing Crosby’s tense drama Little Boy Lost (1953), and even though the film is dark, it brought back many memories of the movie for me. Little Boy Lost was one of the first Bing movies that I had on VHS in the mid-1980s. To capture the music, I did not have any records of the songs Bing recorded for the film, so I had to put a microphone up to the television speaker and record the songs that way. Wow, how things have changed in 30 years! Digging out my copy of the film, I have a 4th generation of the movie on DVD, so I had to search for a DVD player that would play it in the house. Some of my DVD players refused to even play the disc! However, I got the movie going, and the film is as amazing as I remember it being. The whole movie in general is sad, but in the end, there was hope and optimism.

The movie starts during the beginnings of World War II. Bing plays an American journalist who lives in Paris. He meets a beautiful radio performer (played by Nicole Maurey), and they fall in love and have a little boy. Just as the boy is born the Nazis invade Holland, and it is only a matter of time before France will fall. Bing tries to get his wife out of Paris, but he is called up to join the Allied soldiers. France falls to the Nazis, and Bing is unable to return to Paris and his beautiful family. He still hears his wife on the radio, but one day her broadcasts abruptly stop. Bing later finds out that his beloved wife was murdered by the Nazis for being a part of the French resistance during the war. As you can see this is no happy-go-lucky Bing Crosby film! Bing really never accepts that his wife is dead, but he begins his search for his son who was placed in an orphanage after his mother’s murder. Bing goes to the orphanage where he meets the Mother Superior (played wonderfully by Gabrielle Dorziat), and she hesitates to get Bing’s hopes up but lets Bing meet a boy that could be his son. His potential son was played by Christian Fourcade, making his American film debut and deserving an award for his striking portrayal of the boy. Bing is frustrated, because he can not figure out if the boy is his son or not. Bing tries to stimulate the boy’s mind by singing songs from when he was a baby, spraying the boy’s mother’s old perfume that she wore, and even going to the apartment where they all first lived at before the war tore them apart. At the apartment the boy amazingly remembers things, but he remembers things incorrectly. 

Bing goes on to learn that the boy was told why Bing was there, so the boy tells Bing what he wants to hear so he can be adopted. Meanwhile Bing’s friend (played by Claude Dauphin), who knew Bing and his wife during the war years, finally makes Bing come to terms with his wife’s death by telling Bing her final moments, which included being tortured and beat by the Nazis before being shot. You can see Bing’s character is tortured, and he has never recovered. When his wife was pregnant, she had had a nightmare where she sees Bing all alone and hears shrieking. Bing brushes off the dream, but fast forward to the present time and Bing is all alone at the train station, a man without a direction or purpose, and he hears the shrieking of a train whistle which his wife described from her nightmare. It is at that point that Bing needs to move on and live his life. He finds a stuffed dog that his son had had called “Binky”, and he sends it to the orphanage to give to the boy. Bing returns to the orphanage just as the boy is opening it, and the boy exclaims “It’s Binky”, which proves that he was actually Bing’s son all along...


No comments:

Post a Comment