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The Optimists

The Optimists

The Optimists of Nine Elms, also known as The Optimists, is a 1973 British drama film starring Peter Sellers and directed by Anthony Simmons, who also wrote the 1964 novel upon which the film is based. The film is about an old street musician (played by Sellers) who strikes up a friendship with two children - Liz, played by Donna Mullane, and her younger brother Mark, played by John Chaffey. Neither of the child actors was featured in future films. A young Keith Chegwin also played a small role.

Plot

The story revolves around Sam, a dignified, former music hall artist who now works with his elderly trained dog Bella, busking in the West End of London. He lives in a run down goods yard alongside a derelict canal in Nine Elms. Two young children, Liz and Mark, stumble upon his yard whilst out walking. He chases them away, but his manner attracts their attention and, despite his best efforts, they later follow him as he goes off to work pushing his dog and all his busking paraphernalia in an Edwardian pram. Liz and Mark live nearby with their parents, Chrissie and Bob, and baby brother James in a drab, cramped basement flat. Bob works at the local gasworks and the family are desperate to move to a new Council flat. When they're out of school, their mother has little time for Liz and Mark and they find their own adventures together on the streets.