Tony Mastroianni Review Collection

Here's a superb family film

Cleveland Press April 8, 1971

This is probably the kiss of death for this movie, but here goes....

"The Flight of the Doves" is an excellent family film. It is clean. It is also very entertaining.

A good family film (and this one is very good) is something everyone says he wants. When one arrives, however, everyone is too busy to get out to see it.

Funny, but an awful lot of people aren't too busy to see movies they claim they don't want.


"The Flight of the Doves" is the kind of movie that would make a fortune if it appeared with the Disney name- on it. That's because people assume that only a Disney film is a good family film.

Except that it is clean and is about a couple of charming kids, "Flight of the Doves'' has little in common with the average Disney movie. It is much more human, less glossy and offers more surprises.

The "Doves" are a couple of kids, brother and sister, played winningly by Jack

Wild (the Artful Dodger of "Oliver" and newcomer Helen Raye, a real scene-stealer. While living with a cruel English stepfather in London, they decide to run away to their Irish grandmother in Galway. Complicating matters is the report of an inheritance to the children from their grandfather The stepfather claims kidnaping, setting both the English and Irish police in pursuit of the kids.

WHAT IS WORSE they have an evil uncle, Hawk Dove (Ron Moody), who will come into the money if the children die. So Hawk, a master of disguise, also is in pursuit of the children.

Ron Moody played Fagin in "Oliver" and he hasn't had a role as good as this since then. Something of an actor's dream, the role allows him to pop up as a variety of characters, adding both to the humor and the suspense of the film.

Suspense end humor along with a good deal of warmth are the qualities of "The Flight of the Doves."

The film was directed by Ralph Nelson and it reflects his best past efforts -- notably "Lilies of the Field" and "Charly."

The movie was made entirely in Ireland and most of it is as pretty as a picture postcard.

Some of the elements as the kids head north are predictable (mixing into a St. Patrick's day parade); some are not (finding refuge in a Dublin synagogue); all are fun and most add to the suspense.

"IT'S A GRAVEYARD," protests the little girl as they settle down for the night among some headstones.

"We have to sleep somewhere," explains the older brother.

"Not forever,"the girl replies.

Don't drop your kid off at the theater for this one. Go on in with them.