A 1967 film produced, written and directed by James Clavell and based on the novel by E. R. Braithwaite. The 105 minute British colour film was distributed by Columbia and the music was by Ron Grainger.
Braithwaite was born in Guyana and after the war, like many skilled members of an ethnic minority, he had difficulty finding work, so he ended up as a teacher at an East End school. His experiences there were published in his book ‘To Sir With Love’ in 1959.
The cast comprised Sidney Poitier as Mark Thackeray, Christian Roberts as Bert Denham, Lulu as Barbara ‘Babs’ Pegg, Adrienne Posta as Moira Joseph, Judy Geeson as Pamela Dare and Suzy Kendall as Gillian Blanchard.
|The soundtrack was issued on Fontana TL 5446 and contained four songs by Lulu and two by the Mindbenders. In some ways this was a British equivalent of ‘The Blackboard Jungle’, but not as dark. It also featured one of that earlier film’s actors, Sidney Poitier, in the leading role. The musical content, rather than the ‘rebellious’ rock ‘n’ roll of Bill Haley & His Comets, mirrored the sentimentality of the film with Lulu’s rendition of the title song which became a No. 1 hit for her. Lulu also had a small acting role in the film and Manchester group The Mindbenders performed during the end-of-term school dance sequence with ‘Off and Running’ and ‘It’s Getting Harder All The Time.’ The story tells of a young African engineer from British Guyana, unable to find a post in his own profession, mainly because of colour prejudice, who becomes a teacher at North Quay Secondary, an East End school with a classroom of tough 16-year-old youngsters, disillusioned and rebellious because of the limited opportunities before them due to their environment and background.||
he finds the girls burning tampons in the classroom stove he erupts,
sends the boys out of the room and gives the girls a piece of his mind
before retreating to the staff room where he feels guilty about losing
his temper. As a result he then begins to use unorthodox teaching methods
and builds up the youngsters' self respect, treating them as young adults
and getting them involved in dialogue. When another teacher, Mr Bell,
forces an overlarge boy to jump a hurdle when it is obviously beyond
the lad’s capabilities, the boy falls and breaks the hurdle. Furious,
another boy attacks the teacher with a broken piece of wood.
Thackeray intervenes, tells the teacher off and advises the boy that he shouldn’t lose his temper. Denham, the most disruptive boy in the class challenges Thackeray to a boxing bout. Thackeray was once a Golden Gloves contender and floors him with a single blow. Thackeray helps him up and begins to gain the boy’s respect. Gradually, teaching his students as young adults and getting them to respect each other begins to pay rewards. There were other little sub-plots – the death of a boy’s mother, who is black, also indicates the racism of the time, but is overcome when the entire class attend the funeral.
has a mild flirtation with Gillian, one of the other teachers and one
of his students, Pamela, has a crush on him.When Thackeray receives
a letter offering him a job with an engineering company, he has a decision
to make: to work in his chosen profession, or to continue to communicate
with youngsters and help them to be better prepared for their future.
He decides to stay and at the end of term dance, he is paid a tribute
when one of his students, Barbara, sings a song she has written about
him, ‘To Sir With Love.’ After bidding his students farewell, he comes
across a sullen youngster who declares, ‘I’m in your bleeding class
next term’ and realises his work is cut out for him.
The soundtrack was issued in 1967 and a CD released on 11th January 2000. The tracks were:
Side One: ‘To Sir With Love’, Lulu; School of Break Dancing; ‘Stealing My Love From Me’, Lulu; Thackeray Meets Faculty, Then Alone; Music From Lunch Break; ‘Off and Away’, The Mindbenders; Thackeray Loses Temper, Gets An Idea; Museums Outings Montage; ‘To Sir With Love’, Lulu.
Side Two: A Classical Lesson; Perhaps I Could Tidy Your Desk; Potter’s Loss of Temper In Gym; Thackeray Reads Letter About Job; Thackeray and Denham Box In Gym; The Funeral; End of Term Dance; ‘It’s Getting Better All the Time’, The Mindbenders; ‘To Sir With Love’, Lulu.