A Kid For Two Farthings


Directed By

Carol Reed


Adapted by Wolf Mankowitz (Casino Royale, The Day the Earth Caught Fire) from his own novel, A Kid for Two Farthings was Carol Reed’s first colour film and would be his last British production until Oliver! thirteen years later. 

Partly filmed on location in Petticoat Lane, the film is a rare example of a genuine Anglo-Jewish film that portrays a thriving Jewish community in the East End of the 1950s. 

Starring Celia Johnson (Brief Encounter, The Prime of Miss. Jean Brodie), Diana Dors (West 11, Yield to The Night), David Kossoff (I Am a Camera, The Mouse That Roared) and Jonathan Ashmore in his sole acting role, the film is packed with memorable supporting characters including the affectionate Mrs Abramowitz (Irene Handl), blowsy fashionista Lady Ruby (Brenda de Banzie) crooked jewellery salesman Ice Berg (Sid James) and finicky tailor Madam Rita (Sydney Tafler).

In the vibrant Petticoat Lane community of East London, amidst the hustle and bustle of the ancient market, small shops and open-air vendors, Joe (Jonathan Ashmore) lives with his mother, Joanne (Celia Johnson) above the Kandinsky tailor shop, where Joanne also works. Joe is innocently and earnestly determined to make the lives of his impoverished, hard-working neighbours better. Hearing Mr. Kandinsky (David Kossoff) tell a tale that a captured unicorn will grant any wish, Joe uses his accumulated pocket money to buy a goat with a single emerging horn, believing it to be a unicorn. His efforts to make dreams come true make this an enchanting film that explores the power of hope amidst hardship, through a child’s eyes.

Celia Johnson, Diana Dors, David Kossoff, Joe Robinson, Vera Day, Jonathan Ashmore
Other Credits

Written by Wolf Mankowitz

Release Date
26 February 2024
  • New Memory Lane: video essay by Ella Taylor
  • New Dreams and Work: an interview with Jonathan Ashmore
  • The Bespoke Overcoat (1955, Jack Clayton) – A brand new restoration of the Academy Award-winning short film written by Wolf Mankowitz and starring David Kossof and Alfie Bass
  • All in a Day’s Work: Vera Day looks back
  • Audio interview with Joe Robinson (2006)
  • Lobby Cards Gallery
  • Behind the Scenes Stills Gallery
Restoration Details

For the 2024 restoration of A Kid for Two Farthings, STUDIOCANAL went back to the original camera negative which was scanned and restored in 4K to produce a brand new HD master

Related Titles

Carol Reed1949
Alex Cox1986
Henry Cornelius1949
Claude Whatham1974
John Guillermin1974
Richard Lester1973

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