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Melody is a 1971 British film directed by Waris Hussein about “puppy love”. It was released as S.W.A.L.K. in the United Kingdom (S.W.A.L.K. is a message traditionally written on the envelopes of love letters by British schoolchildren, standing for Sealed With A Loving Kiss). The film starred Jack Wild, Mark Lester and Tracy Hyde. Although the film was a box office disappointment in both the United Staes and Britain, it turned out to be an enormous hit in Japan, and in some Latin American countries such as Argentina and Chile. Despite it’s original box office dissapointment in the UK & U.S.A the movie has grown a very loving & loyal fan base. Mark regularly makes appearances for this Movie and he was most recently booked to appear in Japan for a Q&A session. where 100′s of fans flocked to see Mark.
This romantic fantasy is told through the viewpoint of the children in the story, the adults playing only supporting roles. Daniel Latimer (played by Mark) befriends the troublesome Ornshaw (Jack Wild). One day, Daniel falls in love with Melody Perkins and they announce to their parents that they want to get married. Not sometime in the future, but now. However the adults, parents and teachers, alike try to dissuade them. Ornshaw also doesn’t like this because he feels that Melody is taking away his friend. But later on, Ornshaw and other classmates help the young couple. They reunite in a far place to marry the couple but the teachers follow them and try to stop it. The children go wild and make a car explode. Melody and Daniel run away in a handcar down the railway line with Ornshaw’s help.
Film production & filming locations
Film production began in the Spring of 1970 shooting on location in Hammersmith, and Lambeth in the greater London area. Post-production was completed at the Twickenham Studios. The graveyard scenes of the film were shot on location at Brompton Cemetery and Nunhead Cemetery.
Mark and Jack had previously worked together in the 1968 musical film adaptation of Oliver!, and remained good friends after filming. They were thrilled to be working together again. They were joined by the child model Tracey Hyde in the title role. Other cast members included Kate Williams as Melody’s mother, Roy Kinnear as her father, Sheila Steafel as Daniel’s mother, Ken Jones, and James Cossins.
The film’s musical soundtrack included songs by the Bee Gees (“In the morning”, “Melody Fair”, “Give Your Best”, and the hit singles “To love somebody” and “First of May”), and the Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young hit “Teach your Children”
This was the first screenplay by film director Alan Parker. Parker did some second-unit direction for the film, shooting the montage sequences of the school children at break-time and at the track meet. Because of its enormous success in Japan, the film has been mastered in Region 2 format on DVD by Kadokawa Herald Pictures in Japan. This was the feature film debut of then child model and commercial actress Tracy Hyde at the age of 11. Writer/Director Andrew Birkin recommended Tracy Hyde for the title role of Melody Perkins to director Waris Hussein, after screening and auditioning over 100 girls. Jack Wild, who played Ornshaw was actually 17 at the time of the production.
- Tracy Hyde as Melody Perkins
- Mark Lester as Daniel Latimer
- Jack Wild as Ornshaw
- Sheila Steafel as Mrs. Latimer
- Keith Barron as Mr. Latimer
- Roy Kinnear as Mr. Perkins
- Hilda Barry as Grandma Perkins
- Peter Walton as Fensham
- Kay Skinner as Peggy
- William Vanderpuye as O’Leary
- Camille Davies as Muriel
- Craig Marriott as Dadds
- Billy Franks as Burgess
- Tim Wylton as Mr. Fellows
- June Jago as Miss Fairfax
- Neil Hallett as Television Film – Man in hospital
- Ken Jones as Mr. Dicks
- Lesley Roach as Rhoda
- Colin Barrie as Chambers
- June C. Ellis as Miss Dimkins
- James Cossins as Headmaster
- Kate Williams as Mrs. Perkins
- Dawn Hope as Maureen
- John Gorman as Boys’ Brigade Captain
- Robin Hunter as George
- Stephen Mallett as Boys’ Group
- Ashley Knight as Stacey
- Tracey Reed as Woman in Hospital, TV Film
- Leonard Brockwell