A dramatized account of the hidden sexual abuse and scandal that shook the foundation of the Catholic Church, and the characters, events, and policies that brought the abuse and scandal into existence.
When Roger and Moyra first meet and she turns away to lead them from the main group her drink is empty. The camera cuts and her drink is full. See more »
You're an odd mix, Roger. Terribly, absolutely English, yet possessing that maddening quality of American independence. I suppose most people don't know what in the world to do with you.
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I was very familiar with the 1988 version (The Four Minute Mile) before seeing this newer one.
This film is less true to history, most seriously in replacing the real coach, Franz Stampfl, with the shadowy imitation one portrayed by Christopher Plummer. It also brings in Roger's future wife long before he really met her, in a crass attempt to add love interest. In addition, it somewhat misrepresents the weather problems on 6 May 1954 (see below).
This newer version also omits any depiction of Landy and Santee's efforts and turns Roger's important and illustrious friends and helpers (Chris Chataway, Chris Brasher and Norris McWhirter -- see their entries in Wikipedia) into mere cyphers.
These are serious omissions. On the other hand, this 2005 version has a much, much better Roger Bannister, which counts for a lot, given that he is the main character in the story. Jamie MacLachlan is believable as an athlete and does a great job in showing Bannister's combination of brilliance, modesty and stubbornness. He also convincingly embodies the post-war period in which the events take place (despite the garish American ties he is given to wear).
This version also does moderately well at recreating the Iffley Road track in Oxford where the key event was run. The fact that the tower of Iffley Church in the background is clearly made of something akin to cardboard is not too detrimental. Anyone who has heard Norris McWhirter speak about that day -- the overseas channel BBC Prime has shown a clip of this hundreds of times -- knows that the main problem on 6 May 1954 was the wind -- and not so much the rain, as shown here. Roger decided to run when the flag on top of Iffley Church went limp, showing that the wind had dropped. Here, the film-makers have carefully provided the church and the flag, but the latter sadly continues to flutter merrily the whole time.
There are other minor blunders, such as the wrong kind of telephones and the phrase "Get the hell out of here" ludicrously put into the mouth of a crusty old Oxford professor, but I can forgive these.
It is well worth seeing -- but try to catch the other version, too.
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