The Adventures of Hal 5 (1958)
Article 5718 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Don Sharp
Featuring John Glyn-Jones, John Charlesworth, David Morrell
What it is: Children’s adventure
A car finds itself in the hands of an unscrupulous auto dealer after his owner is forced to sell him.
This is another production of the Children’s Film Foundation; I’ve reviewed several of these over the years. Though it wasn’t listed in any of my guides, the title made me suspect it might have some fantastic content; Hal 5 sounded like it might be the name of a robot. Upon inspection, it turned out to be the name of a car, and once I saw the animated face appear in the car’s grill, I began to suspect it might be genre after all. The question would be whether the car would only persist as a passive character to the action, or if it would have an active will in the proceedings. Once I noticed the car trying to swerve into the driveway of its former owner of its own volition, I decided it did qualify.
As for the story itself, it’s passable. It’s one of those that seems rather contrived, as it’s one of those stories which largely relies for its plot twists on the fact that most of the characters know each other, but often don’t know that the other characters also know each other, and you know the conflicts will be resolved by the right people running into each other at the right times. Nevertheless, it’s a charming little piece, and rather fun.