The Warner Bros. Archive is an amazing source for finding movies that have been out of print or never released. I first started hearing about “The Boy with Green Hair”, when I worked in a video store. A few people would come in each month looking for it and we never had it. I looked it up and it sounded interesting, but over the years I have never been able to lay my hands on it. Enter the Warner Bros. Archive and their amazing selection. A few clicks and a short wait later, the movie was in my DVD player and boy was it worth the wait.
The movie starts with a silent runaway boy named Peter Frye, played by a very Young Dean Stockwell, whose head has been completely shaved. He proceeds to tell a psychologist an incredible story, that is meant to challenge the Post War American mindset. After moving in with his Grandfather, the mysterious boy starts settling into a normal life. Then he discovers that he is a war orphan and his hair inexplicably turns green over night. The movie swerves abruptly into fantasy territory at this point. Why is his hair green? Why or who shaved it? The answer will change the minds of the people around him and bring a town to a standstill.
The movie is wonderfully shot in beautiful technicolor and the acting is restrained and well done with great performances by Stockwell as Peter Fry and Pat O’Brien as Gramp Fry. The film was one of the last movies made at RKO Radio Pictures under production chief Dore Schary and was completed just after Howard Hughes took over the studio. Sadly it never got the release it deserved, but it quickly become a cult classic. The movie’s idealism shines as brightly as its Technicolor brilliance and should charm even the most pessimistic film fan and the theme song “Nature Boy” should be familiar to Nat King Cole fans.
It doesn’t look like the print has been restored, but it looks like they started with a good master and the transfer is pretty high quality. You can check out a video preview to see for yourself. After that you can pick up your very own copy of The Boy with the Green Hair (1948) at the Warner Bros. Archive as a DVD or Digital Download.