Thursday, 13 December 2012

To Sir,With Love (1967)

Tom:
To Sir,With Love,1967,UK
Director: James Clavell
Stars: Sidney Poitier, Judy Geeson & Christian Roberts
''I believe one should fight for what one believes. Provided one is absolutely sure one is absolutely right.''

Film #52 of The December Project

'To Sir,With Love' features a familiar plot to many other films, an outsider comes to a new school teaches a class of rebellious youths and eventually changes their lives. We have seen many of these types of films throughout many different time frames, 'To Sir,With Love' was released in 1967 and completely captures the attitudes of a 60's society.

Mark Thackeray, is an African American man who wants one day plans to be a engineer, in the meantime he takes up teaching a class of rambunctious youths in London, who have no respect towards him,authority or themselves. Little do they know, Mr Thackeray is about to change their lives for the better

Most of the attitudes and values alluded to in 'To Sir,With Love' have of course been lost in our modern times, but there is something about the films charm and morals that have a timeless quality, that being that its not just society that has to give you a chance, you have to give to yourself as well and maybe sometimes the belief in yourself has always been there but you just someone else to bring it out. Mr Thackeray, or 'Sir' as he students come to call him, serves as kind of a guardian that comes into the lives of these kids, kids whom society has seemingly given up on, despite there obnoxious attitudes at the beginning of the film, Sir continues to have hope for them, and slowly his inspiration takes effect and the students finally have hope for the future, When is that not going to be inspiring ?

You also have to take into account that racial prejudices were still at a high in the 60's (as they have always been unfortunately), this is depicted throughout the film, especially in the scene towards the end of the film, where it is stated that students have to send flowers to the teacher because they cant give them to him in person because ''people might talk'', its such a horrible aspect of human life but the film handles the racism aspect well I thought, it was always believable and never over the top, and it didn't hurt having one of the greatest African American actors playing the role.

Sidney Poitier was such a wonderful performer, his career can be defined as absolutely fearless as he never seemed to be intimated by racially prejudice roles and always took them head on. To put in perspective his capabilities as an actor, the same year this film was released,1967, Poitier was also in two other classic films 'In The Heat of The Night' and 'Guess Who's Coming to Dinner' (which also focused on race, even more so than this film) in all three films Poitier gave brilliant performances, his showing here is remarkable and brilliant as he captivates the audience like he captivates the characters on screen.

This is much content in 'To Sir,With Love' that have obviously been lost on our society and can seem quite dated, but this is still a very worthy and rewarding watch. Sidney Poitier's performance is remarkable and truly elevates the picture.

***1/2

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