|Mr. Forbush and the Penguins|
|Directed by||Roy Boulting (uncredited)|
|Produced by||Henry Trettin|
|Written by||Anthony Shaffer|
|Based on||novel by Graham Billings|
|Music by||John Addison|
|Distributed by||British Lion Films|
|December 1971 (UK)|
Mr. Forbush and the Penguins (also known as Cry of the Penguins) is a 1971 British film, directed by Arne Sucksdorff, Alfred Viola and Roy Boulting. It stars John Hurt, Hayley Mills, Dudley Sutton and Tony Britton.
A brilliant biology student, Richard Forbush, is sent to study a penguin colony. At first he does it mostly to impress a girl he is chasing, Tara.
Director Al Viola had won awards for his commercials and this would be his feature film debut. The novel was adapted by playwright Anthony Schaffer, doing his first script. Swedish filmmaker Arne Sucksdorff was hired to shoot footage in Antarctica.
Making the film was a turbulent experience. Penguin footage shot by Arne Sucksdorff on location in Antarctica did not cut smoothly into scenes involving humans. Roy Boulting of British Lion replaced director Al Viola, and he replaced Susan Fleetwood, the original female lead, with his then-wife, Hayley Mills. John Hurt was angry at this and Bryan Forbes of EMI had to spend an entire evening persuading him not to quit.
Schaffer, the screenwriter, recalled it as "a fairly chaotic movie which had the young John Hurt capering about the Atlantic slinging rocks at Skuas with a Roman balista, in a vain attempt to protect penguins' eggs from their deprivations. I'm not sure that it all added up, though my younger daughter assures me... it's her favourite film of mine." He added that the female lead "was replaced after the first rough assembly and it was the only film I know of in which a stage direction was delivered as spoken dialogue. It didn't matter. No one noticed - which should generally tell you something about the respect accorded the screen writer's craft."
The Guardian said the film "isn't as bad as we'd been led to believe."
The film failed to recoup its considerable cost.