Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
United Kingdom, 1951. Javelin Films. Screenplay by Terence Rattigan, based on his play. Cinematography by Desmond Dickinson. Produced by Teddy Baird. Production Design by Carmen Dillon. Costume Design by Yvonne Caffin. Film Editing by John D. Guthridge.
Immensely intelligent but at the same entertaining adaptation by Terence Rattigan of his own one-act play, lifted above any possible dryness by Michael Redgrave‘s gorgeously moving performance in the lead. He plays a stuffy, unloved schoolteacher whose tenure at a boys’ college is coming to an end. He is ill and needs an easier job, and as such is getting ready to move on, but in doing so is also starting to face directly up to the failings of his life: his students don’t care for him, his wife doesn’t love him, and his colleagues don’t respect him. All it takes is one sensitive young man to give him a book as a gift to make him break open the floodgate of emotions he has been avoiding for so long. Beautifully felt and impeccably written, it’s a shining example of British filmmaking of its era and shows Redgrave in top form, with sturdy direction by Anthony Asquith and a marvelous supporting cast.
The Criterion Collection: #294
Cannes Film Festival Awards: Best Actor (Michael Redgrave); Best Screenplay