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Spare The Rod

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Morrissey mentions this film in Autobiography as one he'd watch with his sister:

"My sister and my mother never sing, but my sister and I were united in the glorification of the social problem film – a fly-by television treat never to be missed, especially the school-as-cesspit honesty of Spare The Rod (1961), Term Of Trial (1962), Up The Down Staircase (1967) or To Sir, With Love (1967), wherein slum kids are shown to endure in sufferance the pointlessness of secondary education (for what use is anything at all that is secondary?). Blackboard Jungle (1957) had been the first to free teachers – spouting resentment at the no-hope kids who were, by birth, three rungs below scum – and boundaries of frankness snapped. Jackie and I would watch as many films as we could, long before the days when television channels refused to transmit monochrome films for fear that no one would watch."

Wikipedia Information


Spare the Rod is a 1961 British social drama directed by Leslie Norman and starring Max Bygraves, Geoffrey Keen, Donald Pleasence and Richard O'Sullivan. The film was based on the 1954 novel by Michael Croft and deals with an idealistic schoolteacher coming to a tough area of East London to teach in a secondary modern school at a time when such establishments were largely starved of attention and resources from education authorities and were widely regarded as dumping grounds with sub-par teaching standards, for the containment of non-academically inclined children until they reached the school-leaving age. The film was likened on its release to a British Blackboard Jungle, and later as a precursor in theme to the better-known To Sir, with Love (1967). A contemporary reviewer described the film as "a courageous portrayal of the unhappier side of British honest, honourable piece, which recognises that there are good teachers, discouraged teachers and some that are not fit for the job." It was Bygraves's last feature film before he decided to channel his career towards light entertainment rather than acting. O'Sullivan's role as a wayward but promising pupil is a counterpoint to his similar role two years earlier in the comedy Carry On Teacher.