Watch Term of Trial
- 2 hr 10 min
Term of Trial is a 1962 British drama film directed by Peter Glenville and based on the stage play by James Barlow. The film stars Laurence Olivier, Simone Signoret, and Sarah Miles in lead roles. The story revolves around Graham Weir (played by Olivier), a disgraced schoolteacher who is given a second chance at a new school. He teaches English to a group of teenage students with varying degrees of academic ability, social and economic backgrounds, and personal issues. Weir is an intelligent and creative teacher who is committed to his work, despite battling alcoholism and a traumatic past that haunts him.
Simone Signoret plays Weir's landlady and friend, Shirley Taylor, a widow with two young children. She is a warm and generous woman who becomes Weir's confidante and ally, helping him overcome his inner demons and navigate the challenges of teaching a difficult class.
Sarah Miles plays one of Weir's students, a rebellious teenager named Shirley who comes from a troubled family. She is smart, daring, and deeply unhappy, and she is drawn to Weir's unconventional teaching style and compassion. Their relationship becomes a source of tension for both of them, as well as for Shirley's family and the school administration.
The film explores the themes of education, social class, identity, and personal redemption. It combines realistic and gritty portrayals of working-class life in London with moments of tenderness, humor, and sensitivity. Olivier gives a powerful and nuanced performance as Weir, conveying both his intelligence and vulnerability, his hope and despair. Signoret is equally impressive as Shirley Taylor, bringing warmth and depth to a character who could have been a stereotype. And Miles shines in her breakthrough role, capturing the complexity and range of emotions of a young woman struggling to find her place in the world.
The cinematography, by Oswald Morris, captures the gray and gritty atmosphere of London in the early 1960s. The film also features a memorable score by Jean-Michel Damase, which emphasizes the emotional undertones of the story.
Overall, Term of Trial is a compelling and thought-provoking drama that explores the challenges of teaching, the complexities of human relationships, and the transformative power of empathy and understanding. It is a must-see for fans of classic British cinema, as well as anyone interested in exploring the human condition.