|The Wonder Kid|
|Directed by||Karl Hartl|
|Written by||Gene Markey |
|Produced by||Karl Hartl|
|Edited by||Reginald Beck|
|Music by||Willy Schmidt-Gentner|
|Distributed by||British Lion Films|
|Box office||£79,912 (UK)|
The Wonder Kid is a 1952 British drama film directed by Karl Hartl and starring Bobby Henrey, Elwyn Brook-Jones and Oskar Werner. The film was completed in 1950, premiered in Europe in January 1951 but was not given a full release in Britain for a further year.
Sebastian Giro is a ten-year-old French boy and child musical prodigy found in an orphanage by Mr Gorik (Elwyn Brook-Jones) who exploits the youngster’s talent as a classical pianist and turns him into an international celebrity. He even tells everyone that the boy is only seven years old to make the boy wonder’s talent seem all the more remarkable.
But Gorik is also a crook who embezzles the takings so that he has almost all the money and Sebastian gets hardly any. Coupled with that, Gorik won’t allow Sebastian to enjoy the simple pleasures of being a little boy, like playing with other boys or even reading comic books, because, when Sebastian isn’t performing, Gorik isn’t making any money out of him. He works the over tired boy like a slave who must continually practice on the piano.
Sebastian’s elderly English governess, Miss Frisbie (Muriel Aked) is very concerned about the boy and confronts Gorik about his crooked activities. But he dismisses her from her post. Miss Frisbie then pays a gang of crooks to "kidnap" Sebastian and take him to stay in a remote lodge in the Austrian Tyrol, where the boy has never been so free and happy and Gorik won’t get him back until he’s paid over a huge ransom which is, in effect, all the money he has stolen from the boy.
The Wonder Kid was filmed on location in Austria and at Isleworth Studios in England in late 1949 and early 1950, but not released until 1952. The film's sets were designed by the art directors Joseph Bato and Werner Schlichting.