Sky West and Crooked
Directed by John Mills and starring his daughter, Hayley, Sky West and Crooked tells the story of an isolated, traumatised yet free-spirited young girl, who fi nds solace in a rather unusual pastime. Tension mounts in the West Country village in which Brydie White (Hayley Mills) has lived all her life. As a child, she witnessed the death of her friend Julian, who was accidentally killed whilst playing with his father’s shotgun.
Brydie, wounded and left mentally damaged by the accident, has no memory of the event. But while the villagers have suspicions, Julian’s father, Edwin (Laurence Naismith), holds her squarely responsible for the death. Ostracised and misunderstood, Brydie retreats from the adult world and finds companionship among a group of younger children with whom she pursues a new pastime - solemnly burying deceased animals in a sequestered corner of the churchyard. As the children’s activities cause consternation in the village, Edwin Dacres’ anger reaches boiling point. But there is yet more for the innocent Brydie to contend with: Roibin (Ian McShane), a handsome young gypsy, has fallen in love with her...
Hayley Mills’ emotionally compelling performance is at the heart of this touching, poignant and often humorous film. Sky West and Crooked was both written and adapted by Hayley Mills’ mother, Mary Hayley Bell, and stars Annette Crosbie as Brydie’s alcoholic mother and Geoffrey Bayldon as the beleaguered but sympathetic Reverend Moss; the film also boasts beautiful cinematography by Arthur Ibbetson and a haunting score by Oscar-winning composer Malcolm Arnold.