Serious Charge

A Minor Gem, 31 July 2009

Author: gary-444 from United Kingdom

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

A bold topic, confidently handled for the era. The plot essentially unfolds around an unmarried vicar,Howard Phillips, played by Anthony Quayle,who falls foul of a local tearaway youth who maliciously claims to have been sexually assaulted by the Churchman. Terence Young, with dozens of Directing credits behind him, crams quite a lot into 87 minutes.

Set in 1959 suburban London, Quayle’s ambiguous reserve initially hints at latent homosexuality as the attractions of his young maid, and the lure of his female suitor,Hester Peters, played by Sarah Churchill,who tries to get him into bed, are spurned. His work with the local youth provides a window into Cafe culture and affords Cliff Richard his screen debut performing “Livin’ Doll” in a neatly conceived scene.The portrayal of rebellious youth seems a bit twee by modern standards but the mob turning on the innocent vicar is rawly depicted.

The conniving youth who frames the Vicar,Larry Thompson played by Andrew Ray, is a foppish character increasing the sexual ambivalence of the piece. Hester eventually resolves to ensnare Thompson with her own honey trap in a mock seduction scene which then turns into one of sexual violence.

Solidly plotted, and proceeding at a brisk pace, Young went on to Direct two early Bond titles, “Dr No” and “From Russia With Love”. The supporting cast unfailingly shine in a brave, successful, production.

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