An unexpected entry in Ken Loach's filmography, Black Jack’s 1750s costume drama is adapted from a novel by children’s author Leon Garfield. Loach’s feel for scruffy realism is to the fore in his depiction of Yorkshire… Merchant Ivory this ain’t.
And the concern for society’s misfits that he showed in Family Life returns here – the young hero rescuing a girl consigned to an asylum. But the film is let down by mumbling performances from its largely non-professional cast and incoherent plotting, while the often fuzzy visuals (16mm blown up to 35mm) don’t help. A commentary from Loach and a booklet round out the package.