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  • Writer's pictureFr. Vili Lehtoranta

Family Movies Part 4 - Treasures of the Snow

Treasures of the Snow is a 1980 TV movie directed by Mike Pritchard, which premiered on HBO. It is based on the book of the same name by Patricia St. John. The book was first published in 1950, and the author tells that she wrote the book in the afterglow of all the anger and hatred which lingered among people after World War II. She wanted to write a book about forgiveness for the children of the post-war era, so that they would learn to forgive both themselves and others.

St. John wrote the screenplay of this movie adaptation with director Pritchard. The movie tells about 13-year old Lucien Morel (Paul Dean) who is constantly fighting with a girl in his class, Annette Burnier (Carey Born). One day after such a fight, he starts to pick on Annette’s little brother Dani (Timothy Fleetwood). Lucien destroys the bouquet of flowers which Dani had made for her, and then threatens to drop Dani’s kitten off a cliff. When Dani tries to save his kitten, he ends up falling from the cliff himself, and Lucien leaves him lying there, thinking he is dead. Dani survives the fall, but it does leave him crippled, for which a furious Annette starts a vendetta against Lucien. Lucien is now tormented with guilt and depressed to see his friends despise him, and his mother (Vera Fusek) and sister (Bethan Cathawood) being ashamed of him.

At Annette’s home her grandmother (Bay White) tries to persuade her to show mercy and forgiveness. While Annette insists that Lucien must be punished, the grandmother tries to make her understand that when people do wrong, it often brings its own punishment. The grandmother says that Annette must pray for Lucien; God is love and one can’t go to Him full of hatred and expect to be heard. But Annette is unforgiving and tells the grandmother that in that case she will leave praying to her.

Annette tries her best to have Lucien shunned by their classmates, forbids him from coming near Dani, and destroys the gifts (the treasures) Lucien makes for Dani. When Lucien is dwelling on his sadness in the woods, he comes across a woodcarver (Ted Brown) who notices how good Lucien is at making toys out of wood. The woodcarver has his own reasons for why he lives a life of seclusion, so he understands Lucien very well, and he also helps Lucien out of his predicament. And when Annette ends up in need of help herself, she learns the valuable lesson of forgiveness and the importance of prayer.

Treasures of the Snow was filmed in the Swiss Alps, and besides teaching a great lesson, it presents beautiful scenery from Switzerland. The movie is available for free on YouTube and to rent or buy on Amazon Prime Video.

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