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One Potato, Two Potato (1957)


Warning: screenonline full synopses contain 'spoilers' which give away key plot points. Don't read on if you don't want to know the ending!

A young girl runs along a pavement dragging a piece of chalk across a wall. She runs into a playground where she is joined by several other children and they begin to play: boys leapfrog over each other and perform handstands, girls create a seesaw with a plank of wood and an oil drum. In the park children play on different equipment that contrast the improvised games of the street.

In back yards and alleys, on roofs and in the street, children engage in traditional games of jump rope, marbles, tag and hopscotch. There are games with props such as bouncing balls against a wall, collective games with skipping ropes and games created through chants. In one game children form a circle around a girl, sing and act out the story of Sleeping Beauty with various children entering the circle to take on various roles. It ends with two concentric circles rotating in different directions.

The streets are the arena for the creativity of children. Boys make paper boats to float along the gutters, others climb walls and split into teams for play-fighting. A ritualised counting song picks a winner for the 'king of the castle' who must protect his patch from would-be usurpers. Not for long though as king succeeds king with rapidity.

Bonfire night, and the children make guys and build a pyramid of firewood. A little boy climbs a hill and flies his kite into the sky.