THE ENCHANTED FOREST (1945)
Article #1353 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 11-27-2004
Posting Date: 4-26-2004
Directed by Lew Landers
Harry Davenport, Edmund Lowe, Brenda Joyce
A hermit who lives alone in a forest finds a child floating in the river (he fell into the river during a train wreck), and brings him up in the forest.
Fantastic element: The hermit is able to talk with the animals and hear the voice of the forest.
This was quite an ambitious task to come out of PRC; it was shot in Cinecolor on 16mm and expanded to 35mm for theatrical release, and it was probably the only way they could afford it. You can see they didn’t have a lot of money to play with when you watch it, but it doesn’t matter. The movie has a great deal of charm. Much of this comes from the warmth and simplicity of the story, from the unaffected performance of Harry Davenport as Old John the Hermit, and from the excellent use of trained animals. The movie is filled with memorable touches; the hermit kindly admonishing the crow for stealing his glasses, the hermit explaining about guns and killing to the grieving child, and then conducting a burial of a squirrel, and the moment when the hermit leaves the newly discovered baby alone for a couple of minutes only to have a cougar enter the living quarters. There are also good performances from everyone else, including Brenda Joyce (the mother of the lost child) and Edmund Lowe, who plans on building a sanitarium in the forest.