Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.5.
United Kingdom, 1965. Wheel Productions. Screenplay by John Mortimer, Penelope Mortimer, based on the novel by Marryam Modell. Cinematography by Denys N. Coop. Produced by Otto Preminger. Music by Paul Glass. Production Design by Donald M. Ashton. Costume Design by Hope Bryce. Film Editing by Peter Thornton.
A young American woman (Carol Lynley), newly arrived in England, drops her daughter off at a primary school for her first day of lessons. When she shows up at the end of the day to pick little Bunny up, she finds that not only is her daughter missing, but no one at the school has ever seen her. Lynley’s brother (Keir Dullea) joins her and the two of them scour the school in search of her, then entrust the case to a police officer (Laurence Olivier) whose skepticism of the entire affair begins to grow: perhaps the girl never went missing, perhaps she never existed in the first place. Two weak performances in the leads by Dullea and Lynley are totally compensated for by tightscrew direction and sharp-as-nails writing, not to mention uncannily perfect performances by the entire British cast: Olivier is magnificently confident, while Martita Hunt gives much to her few moments as a dotty, retired teacher who lives at the top of the school. One of those great movies you get sunk into and can’t shake off until the very end.