The poem that the teacher expects Smiley to recite is "Horatius" by Thomas Babbington Macaulay, Lord Macaulay. (Note that Smiley also quoted from this poem in the earlier film, Smiley (1956)). See more »
The DVD release of this film was botched...the opening is in CinemaScope, but the rest of the film is in pan-and-scan. In this modern day, this is not acceptable.
As for the film itself, it was much better than I was expecting. The "Smiley" character is far more likable than one might presume, partially thanks to the child actor playing him.
Production values are more than acceptable, and the "colour" of the film print is very nice, unlike another 1950s film "Jedda" which (while in some respects a better film overall) has very dodgy colour.
The plot line is simple enough. The character "Smiley" is promised to be given a "nick" (or more) marked on a tree for every good deed he does. 8 "nicks" and he will be given a rather nice-looking rifle. A bad deed sees a "nick" removed from the tree bark. But there are troubles involving goats in a church, a bushfire and stolen gold that danger his attempts at getting "nicks" through good deeds.....or so it seems! The film is enjoyable, harmless stuff and it is a shame that the DVD release was screwed-up with a pan-and-scan transfer.
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