Serious Charge (1959)

 |  Drama  |  May 1959 (UK)
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Howard Phillips, a vicar who's new in the town of Bellington, wants to reach out to youth. The previous vicar's daughter, Hester Peters, who fears being a spinster, wants to be his wife. He... See full summary »



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Complete credited cast:
Howard Phillips
Sarah Churchill ...
Hester Peters
Andrew Ray ...
Larry Thompson
Irene Browne ...
Mrs. Phillips
Mr. Thompson
Noel Howlett ...
Wensley Pithey ...
Police Sergeant
Leigh Madison ...
Mary Williams
Judith Furse ...
Probation Officer
Jean Cadell ...
Almshouse Matron
Wilfrid Brambell ...
Olive Sloane ...
Mrs. Browning
George Roderick ...
Curley Thompson
Liliane Brousse ...


Howard Phillips, a vicar who's new in the town of Bellington, wants to reach out to youth. The previous vicar's daughter, Hester Peters, who fears being a spinster, wants to be his wife. He tells her he's not interested. When he confronts a tough kid about something the youth has done, the lad sets out to frame the vicar. Hester, who's walked in on the confrontation, backs the youth's story. The town sides with her and the lad, turning against Phillips. He has a crisis of faith. What options does he have; can no one help him, his reputation, or his calling? Written by <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Never Has the Screen Been So Bold!







Release Date:

May 1959 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

A Touch of Hell  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)
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Did You Know?


First cinema film of Cliff Richard. See more »


Referenced in Terence Young: Bond Vivant (1999) See more »


Living Doll
Written by Lionel Bart
Performed by Cliff Richard
Accompanied by The Shadows (as The Drifters)
See more »

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User Reviews

Early British film highlighting homosexuality
12 October 2015 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Intriguing British drama about a priest, underplayed brilliantly by Anthony Quale, who also is a bit of a local football hero, tries to bring redemption to the local teddy boys, this being 1959, and appears to avoid women like the plague, the implication being, is he gay or not? It all comes to a head when the main thug, played by Andrew Ray, gets a girl pregnant, and after a tragic accident, is confronted by Quale who is then falsely accused of 'interferring' with Ray, a quaint 1950's way of saying he molested him. Sarah Churchill, who is perhaps a bit old for her role, she was in her mid 40's at the time, holds the key to his innocence in the matter and eventually it all plays out but we are left wondering still, was he supposed to be gay or not? I don't think we were meant to really know as it was 1959 and mainstream films only ever dropped hints back then. At one point, Percy Herbert, playing Andrew Ray's violent father says, ' We haven't got one of them in the parish have we?'. Apparently back then, it was alright to beat the hell out of your son with a strap, backed up by the local copper, but not to be gay, clearly a despicable state of being then. Nevertheless, very interesting to compare how things have changed, and I do remember when people thought like this, but best of all, a wonderful performance by Anthony Quale who hold the film together with some otherwise dodgy performances, like Cliff Richard's first acting role.

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