To Sir with Love
Directed by James Clavell. UK. 1967. NR. 105 minutes. Sony. DVD.
Sun., May 20, 2012
Turning from exclusive and proper upper-class British schools, but retaining a sense of the power of a charismatic teacher, To Sir With Love takes us into the slums of London and provides us with the joy of watching Sidney Poitier win over a tough group of white working-class students. Poitier is a trained engineer from British Guiana who, because he is black, cannot find a job in his profession, leading him to accept a teaching position. As he gradually wins the respect and admiration of his resistant students, we are treated to some charming yet powerful moments, as well as being provided with a strong sense of the difference that a dedicated educator can make in young peoples lives. (NOTE: Lulu, whose rendition of the films title song made her an overnight singing sensation, has a key role as one of the students here.) (Bill Roth)