Engineer Mark Thackeray arrives to teach a totally undisciplined class at an East End school. Still hoping for a good engineering job, he's hopeful that he won't be there long. He starts implementing his own brand of classroom discipline: forcing the pupils to treat each other with respect. Inevitably he begins getting involved in the students' personal lives, and must avoid the advances of an amorous student while winning over the class tough. What will he decide when the engineering job comes through? Written by
Ed Sutton <email@example.com>
Lulu's title song, "To Sir With Love" finished the year number one on the Billboard Top One-hundred List. "Talk to the Animals" won the Academy Award and none of the songs nominated for Best Original Song Oscars broke into the year '67 top 100. Only the nominated "The Look of Love" was number 36 in the following year's Billboard List. See more »
The band plays a song at the end with an audible tambourine, but there is no-one on stage with a tambourine. See more »
Next, we are going to talk about various...
[Mr. Florian, the school principal, steps inside the classroom to check up on Thackeray]
I just wanted to see how you were getting it on.
Fine, thank you, sir.
Good. Well, thank you.
[Mr. Florian leaves; the students all chuckle. Thackeray throws away a piece of rope, then removes a student's sunglasses from his face. Palmer, a student, raises his hand]
What are we going to talk about, sir?
[...] See more »
In the end credits, Michael Des Barres name is misspelled as "Micheal." See more »
Recorded on a budget of just $640,000, To Sir, With Love was drafted, as with Lilies of the Field, to give Sidney a share of the gross profits to account for his diminished fee. Writer-director Clavell also received the same arrangement, a writer who was chosen for his love of the source material. The rights to the source, an identically-named novel by E. R. Braithwaite, had passed from studio to studio, and been offered to numerous stars before finally getting the green light when in the hands of Columbia President Mike Frankovich.
Poitier noted in his autobiography the similarities in terms of racial issues between America and England. Filmed in London, the picture featured a number of minorities, many of whom, he observed, would be unable to find work outside of the confines of the movie. However, for his time spent with the cast, he was delighted with their company. Sidney played Mark Thackeray, one of his most famous characters, an engineer taking a teaching post as a stopgap between jobs. Eventually the relationship he develops with the students causes him to question his loyalty to the profession.
To Sir, With Love is often frowned upon nowadays due to its sentimentality. While not wholly condemned as a film, it is certainly regarded as the poor relation of Poitier's three 1967 works. This is an unfair assessment of a movie that commits the only crime of having its heart on its sleeve. And, though the late sixties would see an increase in the political situation, To Sir, With Love was the only one of the three Poitier vehicles that year that did not rely upon his colour for its subtext. Instead, a few bigoted remarks were inserted, largely from a fellow teacher (Geoffrey Bayldon as Mr. Weston) than the pupils. Compared to his other overshadowing works that year, direction paled, too, the camera-work at times almost static. However, the scope for Poitier as an actor was broader than in the other '67 roles, and certainly broader than in the 1996 TV sequel. Where there the plot would be propelled largely by one pupil, here multiple characters would be guided through numerous situations over an entire term period. Over the course of the lengthy film the viewer can feel as though they have experienced the timescale too. And who would argue that the sheer amount of silly moves Sidney and Judy Geeson perform in the final ball didn't directly influence Travolta and Uma Thurman in Pulp Fiction?
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