Trompie (South Africa, 1975)

A young boy and his friends cause all sorts of mischief in this adaptation of the Topsy Smith books.

Trompie is an 11-year-old boy in South Africa who spends his time with his best friends Blikkies, Rooie, and Dawie. They love to just do one thing. Cause as much as trouble as possible for the headmaster of their school. Trompie loves to live adventures and lets his imagination run wild. The only problem is that it always gets him and his friends into trouble. However, for one reason or another, Trompie seems to talk his way out of getting in trouble and in most cases, he ends up with just a slap on the wrist.

Their mischief includes stealing the reverend’s baboon Cassie and accidentally unleashing him at a church meeting to Trompie crashing the school play, things slowly go too far for Trompie. When both the headmaster and Trompie’s father can take no more, Trompie’s father makes a decision that even Trompie can’t take his way out of. However, this decision makes Trompie want to run away from home. Will he come to his senses and do what’s finally right?

From the writer-producer of Joe Bullet and a hailed hero of the South African film industry, Tonie van der Merwe, adapts the Toppy Smith novels about a mischievous pre-teen and his friends who go on some wacky misadventures. The film is nothing more than what looks like it could be a series (which it would be a few years later) meshed up in one little nifty fun and harmless package.

What has to work in a film like this is chemistry and a lead who can do the job right. Enter André Laubscher, who was discovered by director van der Merwe who said upon meeting him that he was the one. The young 15-year-old (at the time) did a great job playing the titular troublemaker Trompie. What’s great is that Laubscher churns in a performance where he had this natural feel and as Trompie, could talk his way mostly out of trouble or at least when it comes to school. At home, his father showed practically no remorse when it came to punishments.

Niël Perolt, Antonie Kruger, and Philippus Venter are great as Trompie’s friends Blikkies, Rooie, and Dawie. When Trompie is not being scolded or getting into trouble himself, he has his friends. They stick together quite well, as they either get into trouble together (as with the opening minutes of the film involving a baboon) or just hanging out. They spend their time having a swim at a local watering hole, root for each other, and just be kids. This shows a lot of heart into the film, which is just a family friendly fun adventure altogether.

Trompie is a harmless, fun feature about the misadventures of a mischievous 12-year-old and his buddies with some great performances by the youngsters. Just a wonderful entry from South Africa.

WFG RATING: B

Gravel Road Entertainment presents an Octo Films production. Director: Tonie van der Merwe. Producer: Tonie van der Merwe. Writer: Tonie van der Merwe; based on the novels by Toppy Smith. Cinematography: Tonie van der Merwe. Editing: Tonie van der Merwe/

Cast: André Laubscher, Niël Perolt, Antonie Kruger, Philippus Venter, Retief Oosthuysen, Betzie Hoogenboezem, Hettie van der Merwe, Johannes Slabbert, Nic Wandrag, Lucinda Coetzee.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this:
search previous next tag category expand menu location phone mail time cart zoom edit close