A young woman is invited by her girlfriend, who lives in an English country mansion, to stay there with her. The estate, however, isn't quite what it seems--and neither is the friend who issued the invitation.
José Ramón Larraz
At a Catholic public school, Benjamin Stanfield is tired of being the teacher's pet and decides to play a practical joke on his form master Father Goddard. In confession, Stanfield tells ... See full summary »
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David Hemmings had clearly forgotten the climax to this film because in his autobiography he describes a totally different ending to the film. See more »
[John Ebony's first day teaching. The students are taking turns reading from a history book]
hypotenuse... hypotenuse... hypotenuse
Who's that muttering?
He can't help it, sir.
He says 'hypotenuse' all the time, sir.
He likes the word.
Mr. Pelham said he was 'hypotenus-ed' by it, sir!
Stop it! Very well, you've had ample warning. This form will kept in on Saturday afternoon from 2:30.
[...] See more »
In the closing credits, when the names of actors playing the schoolboys appear they are listed in alphabetical order according to the character's surname. This is so as to resemble the class's register. The character of 'Zigo' appears at the very end but as he never appears in the film, instead of an actor being credited, it merely says "Zigo....Absent". See more »
When a school teacher dies in an accident, his replacement quickly begins to suspect his students of murder.
Using its theatrical origins to claustrophobic effect, Unman, Wittering and Zigo very cleverly builds up layer upon layer of tension and menace, as Hemming's naive and idealistic Mr. Ebony is quickly and easily outclassed by his pupils, seemingly at every turn. Dismissed by his headmaster, and humoured by both his wife and a fellow teacher, Ebony is slowly ground into submission by the boys as they repeatedly claim to have killed his predecessor. However, when the boys attempt an assault on his wife as a way of further controlling Ebony, the web they have spun begins to unravel until eventually another tragedy forces out the truth.
Chilly and chilling, Mackenzie is well-served by his actors, both adult and juvenile. Hemmings captures just the right note of bewilderment and impotence, whilst Seymour turns the potentially thankless role of Mrs. Ebony into a striking portrait of independence, determination and naturalism - her performance during the attempted assault by the boys is quite brilliant. Standout amongst the boys are Hoye, Owen and Cashman, all conveying stonewall confidence collectively, whilst allowing just the faint trace of fear and uncertainty when separated from their classmates. Unsettling allusions to Ebony's ambivalence and a vaguely sexual response to his ordeal add to the mix, and only a slightly dissatisfying and unbelievable conclusion mar what is otherwise a deeply disturbing, grown up story. Highly recommended, if you can track it down.
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