GenreComedy, Drama, Family ProducerDore Schary LanguageEnglish
WriterBen Barzman, Alfred Lewis Levitt Release dateDecember 27, 1948 (1948-12-27) (U.S.) CastPat O'Brien (Gramp Fry), Robert Ryan (Dr. Evans), Barbara Hale (Miss Brand), Dean Stockwell (Peter Fry), Richard Lyon (Michael), Walter Catlett (The King) Similar moviesFur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus, The Peanut Butter Solution, Wicked Stepmother, Story of My Hair, The Gift of Love, Bald: The Making of 'THX 1138'
TaglinePlease don't tell why his hair turned green!
The boy with green hair trailer
The Boy with Green Hair is a 1948 American comedy-drama film directed by Joseph Losey. It stars Dean Stockwell as Peter, a young war orphan who is subject to ridicule after he awakens one morning to find his hair mysteriously turned green. Co-stars include Pat O'Brien, Robert Ryan, and Barbara Hale.
Nature boy song from the film the boy with green hair
Finding a curiously silent young runaway boy (Dean Stockwell) whose head has been completely shaved, small-town police call in a psychologist (Robert Ryan) and discover that he is a war orphan named Peter Fry. Moving in with an understanding retired actor named Gramps (Pat O'Brien), Peter starts attending school and generally begins living the life of a normal boy until his class gets involved with trying to help war orphans in Europe and Asia.
Peter soon realizes that—like the children on the posters, whose images haunt him—he, too, is a war orphan. The realization about his parents and the work helping the orphans makes Peter turn very serious, and he is further troubled when he overhears the adults around him talking about the world preparing for another war. The next day, after having a bath, Peter is drying his hair with a towel when, to his astonishment, he sees that his hair has turned green, prompting him to run away after being taunted by the townspeople and his peers.
Suddenly, appearing before him in a lonely part of the woods are the orphaned children whose pictures he saw on the posters. They tell him that he is a war orphan, but that with his green hair he can make a difference and must tell people that war is dangerous for children. He leaves determined to deliver his message to any and all. Upon his return, the townspeople urge Gramps to encourage Peter to consider shaving his hair so that it might grow back normally. Peter returns to the woods to find the orphan children from the posters, but is chased by a group of boys from school who attempt to cut his hair. He agrees to get his head shaved, and the town barber does the job—that night, however, Peter runs away. Later reunited with Gramps, Peter learns that there are adults out there who accept what he has to say and want him to go on saying it. He's sure that his hair will grow back in green again, and he will continue to carry his message.
Pat O'Brien as Gramp Fry
Robert Ryan as Dr. Evans
Barbara Hale as Miss Brand
Dean Stockwell as Peter Fry
Richard Lyon as Michael
Walter Catlett as The King
Samuel S. Hinds as Dr. Knudson
Charles Meredith as Mr. Piper
David Clarke as Barber
Billy Sheffield as Red
Johnny Calkins as Danny
Teddy Infuhr as Timmy
Dwayne Hickman as Joey
Eilene Janssen as Peggy.
Dale Robertson and Russ Tamblyn appear, but are not credited.
The song "Nature Boy" written by eden ahbez and sung by an uncredited chorus was a primary theme of the score for the motion picture. Nat King Cole's version of "Nature Boy" shot to No. 1 on the Billboard charts, and remained there for eight weeks straight during the summer of 1948.
The film recorded a loss of $420,000.
Although the film was passed with a 'U' certificate by the British Board of Film Censors on November 26, 1948, its UK release was held back until June 19, 1950.
The film is recognized by American Film Institute in these lists: