This neglected boy is a little treasure. Every family will love him.
I suspect that the author of this story read a lot of Charles Dickens' works, because the film has a true Dickensian feel about it, and the somewhat sepia-toned colour adds a touch of old world charm like the parchment pages of an antique book.
I liked this film immensely. It was one of those occasions when I felt obliged to watch it right through. I even managed a tear or two towards the end.
The story concerns Kruimeltje a 10 year old illegitimate boy whose mother filled with shame gave him away soon after he was born. The father of the boy fled to America to make his fortune. Kruimeltje became an urchin stealing from the street barrows and the shops to stay alive....sleeping in churches or huddled in doorways. A stray dog became his constant companion. His rebellious nature gave him the courage to continue from day to day hoping that sooner or later his father would come back to claim him.
This great little actor is on the screen most of the time and he carries you along in his series of adventures. These were the days when the school-master's cane shaped the lives of the students who were forced to comply with the school regulations and were beaten into submission. There is a heart-rending scene where Kruimeltje paralyzed with pain from a terrible beating can only think of feeding his faithful dog.
The supporting roles are interesting, played with all stops out. His foster mother is a spiteful wretch who demands payment for his keep. There is one scene which may need some parental guidance. A drunken partner following a bout of drinking forces her down on a table and tries to sexually assault her. Frightened Kruimeltje goes to her rescue. The rest of the film is good family entertainment. There are sad moments and funny moments. A sad moment involves a priest who kicks him out of the church where he sought shelter for the night. No compassion here. A funny moment is when he steals the key to let loose his impounded dog. Excitement plus as they are re-united.
Don't question some of the improbabilities of the story. Sit back and be entertained. The whole family can enjoy it together.
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