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The Amazing Mr. Blunden

The Amazing Mr. Blunden title card

Year - 1972
Studio - Hemdale, Hemisphere Productions
Stars - Lawrence Naismith, Lynne Frederick, Garry Miller, Graham Crowden, Dorothy Alison, David Lodge, Diana Dors, Stuart Lock
Director - Lionel Jeffries
Writing Credits - Lionel Jeffries, Antonia Barber (novel)
Music - Elmer Bernstein

Synopsis

Mrs. Allen (Dorothy Alison) and her children Jamie (Garry Miller) and Lucy (Lynne Frederick) live in poverty and indebtedness in a squalid Camden Town flat, having been evicted from their previous home. On Christmas eve, a mysterious old solicitor, Mr. Blunden (Lawrence Naismith) arrives and offers them the opportunity to move into, and care for, an old decaying mansion. Cryptically, he asks the children if they would be afraid if they saw ghosts; Benjamin and Bella respond that it would depend on the behavior of the ghosts themselves.

The family accepts the offer and, next day, go to the solicitor’s address to formalize the arrangements. They are met by Mr. Clutterbuck (Graham Crowden) who is surprised, explaining that the position had not yet been advertised. The family sees a wall portrait that appears to be Mr. Blunden that they met; Clutterbuck informs them that it is the original founder of firm who died 100 years ago, and that the current Mr. Blunden is bedridden and senile. But he confirms the job offer and accompanies the family to the property.

The Amazing Mr. Blunden poster

The next morning, Lucy is exploring the derelict and fire-damaged old house and she hears children's’ voices. Later, as she is picking flowers, she sees two shimmering figures approaching. They are two ghost children, Sara (Rosalyn Landor) and Georgie (Marc Granger). The ghosts are pleased that Lucy and Jamie are not afraid, and they tell them that they lived in the mansion 100 years ago. Their parents had died in a carriage accident, and they were left in the care of their Uncle Bertie (Jamie Villiers). He was financially embarrassed and would often pawn valuables from the house. With him was his wife Bella (Madeline Smith) and mother-in-law, Mrs. Wickens (Diana Dors). They were aware that £30,000 was held in trust for Georgie until his 18th birthday, which Bertie and Bella would inherit if Georgie died before them. Mrs. Wickens schemed to feed the children only scraps, and make them sleep with the windows open to the cold night air. However, the gardener’s son Tom (Stuart Lock) would sneak food to them and close the windows on his way out.

The ghost children beg Lucy and Jamie for help, and then vanish, but not before they provide them with a recipe for a potion that will allow them to travel back in time. Lucy and Jamie discover the graves of Sara and Georgie, and learn that they died in a fire in the mansion.

They take the potion and travel back to the year 1818 and are able to eavesdrop on the events, unseen by others. Having decided that her scheme to slowly kill the children was not working, Mrs. Wickens has drugged and locked them in the nursery while Bertie starts a fire in the library below. Lucy and Jamie are able to assist Tom to break down the door and rescue Sara first. The inferno has grown and Jamie is afraid to return for Georgie. Mr. Blunden appears on horseback and promises to protect Jamie as they return to Georgie. Mr. Blunden pushes Jamie and Georgie to safety, but perishes in the flames.

The potion wears off, and Lucy and Jamie return to the present. They return to the churchyard cemetery and find no graves for Sara and Georgie. But there is a headstone for Mr. Blunden, which reads “He gave his life to save the children in his care.” Later, Mr. Clutterbuck shows up and informs them that Lucy and Jamie are now the legal owners of the mansion and will receive an annual allowance of £500. He related that the current Mr. Blunden had risen from his sick bed and ordered that the marriage record of Sara and Tom be examined. It revealed that they were the great grandparents of Lucy and Jamie’s father.

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