Twilight Time Blu-ray: To Sir, with Love (1967)

To Sir, With Love (1967)

Blu-Ray Company: Twilight Time

Starring : Sidney Poitier, Christian Roberts, Judy Geeson, Suzy Kendall, Lulu

Plot: Idealistic engineer-trainee and his experiences in teaching a group of rambunctious white high 
school students from the slums of London's East End.

My Review and Thoughts:

Film: 4/5

What can be said that hasn't already been said about this classic film? Starring one of the greatest actors of all time, the icon himself, Sydney Poitier. This is a movie that holds kind of an emotional reality in my life. This was one of the first movies that my parents went out on a date to. Before they where married, they did movie dates, and this was the very first movie date, for them. That personal memory has been a part of my life, through my parents speaking of it. They have talked about this film and held it in high regards. The memories of them getting together at the drive-in, growing a relationship with one another, has always been a subject in my life, leading to this movie. Going into this, once again, I had all those memories over the years of my parents talking about it. I've seen this movie countless times before, on VHS, DVD, and television. I guess I say this a lot, when I say, that a movie deserved a new outlet to express itself for a modern generation. If any movie deserved to be placed on a Blu-ray and to be given, the crystal clarity of creating a new outlet, that's vibrant in colors and sound and music, it would be this dramatic amazing film. And in my viewpoint there are only a handful of companies around that can do this in amazing ways. Any studio can put out a blu-ray, but it's the passion and the love, behind it that counts to me. You as the viewer can see in that passion with the quality of the product. One of of those handful of studios is, Twilight Time. Twilight Time crafted another excellent product.

I think this film is as relevant and dramatic as it was, when it came out, and probably more so today, with the climate of tension throughout the news, and media situations, with race, education, and kids going in the wrong direction. Not only does this showcase flawless acting by Sydney, but each player, each actor, and actress in this film is able to allow the viewer to understand, to feel the very emotional reality. To listen, to their unique being, as a lost cause, or an over looked teenager needing help.

This was written and directed by a master of filmmaking both in writing and directing, James Clavell. I think I need to clarify, just who James was, and just what he was about in the makeup of both cinema and book history; also real history. He was a World War II veteran and most of all a survivor. He was a prisoner of war in the Chinese horrors camps, of WW2. He was a novelist, an excellent screenplay writer, and an amazing director. He wrote many wonderful screenplays and adaptions of books that were turned into amazing movies. From the amazing drive-in classic science fiction gem, The Fly, to the wonderful War drama, The Great Escape, starring Steve McQueen. He wrote and produced one of the greatest television miniseries, 1980's Shōgun, which was based on his book. If you ever get a chance, it would be a great pleasure to you, and to the memory of his talent, to read his books. I highly recommend King Rat. Truly one of the greatest books. Came out in 1962 and is still considered one of the great novels. There is a movie based on it by the same name, starring George Segal, that came out in 1965, but please read the book first. The movie is good, but the book is so much better. I highly recommend it. I also highly recommend his book Noble House, which came out in 1981. I being a reader and huge book lover, think it is very important to honor this man in the written form. I have read all his work, and the two books that stand out is, King Rat and Noble House, but all his others are great also. Something I always understand, and speak highly of, is the reality and importance of the writer, behind the subject of film. Without writers there is no story. Writers are the passionate visionary of pen and paper. Clavell took the ultimate subject of the book To Sir, with Love and created a worthy film to be memorized, and honored. Twilight Time Blu-ray, has lovingly done so in disc form.  

Now To Sir, with Love is based on the book by E. R. Braithwaite. It is, semi-autobiographical in nature. The book is about the semi-true events when Braithwaite took on a teaching job in a school in East London. Now, the movie differs from the book a bit, in that, the book takes place after World War II. In the movie, they place it, into the swinging, pop music inducing 60's. Braithwaite was a very unique man. He was born in Guyana. He was a novelist, diplomat, but most of all, a teacher. He crafted his stories around social issues such as race. He is in my viewpoint another solid writer to recommend, that you pick up his books. I highly recommend, To Sir, with Love in the book form; that why you can see the way it was meant to be. Also his book from 1975 Honorary White is an excellent read.

Most people remember this movie from its song. The movie has one of those songs that became a record maker, To Sir, with Love. The song was performed by the artist Lulu who is also in the movie. It became a number one hit in the U.S.

The plot of the film is something we all pretty much can relate to, or maybe even know some type of reality to this situation. There has been other countless movies, that have used this type of subject, but To Sir, with Love is one of the first. It's about a teacher that takes a job, and learns that his students are basically the lost cause, the troublemakers, the ones, nobody gives a chance to. These are the rough ones. The ones, that are just there to wait graduation, and get bad grades, or getting passed just to get rid of them. Sydney's character learns that they drove the last teacher nuts, and to quit. Soon he has to learn how to approach the classroom, and how he is going to teach, or get anything done in the classroom. What is amazing about this film, is it expresses an emotional reality, a dramatic concept of some kids, who seem lost, and sometimes extreme measures, or out-of-the-box teaching can bring students together. I think this movie is one of those films, that passionately showcases a teacher, and the effects of teaching, and the reality, and make-up of students lost yet needing to be found.

The movie has all kinds of genres mixing together. The comical, to dramatic and tension filled moments. Everything comes together, mixing emotions of life. Even today after so many years, it still captures all the actors and actresses and the talent of bringing these characterizations of to life in a believable way on screen. There has been other movie reviewers in the past, that talk about how the movie doesn't have realism. Reviewers of the past have mentioned how a lot of the incidents are unbelievable. I can say, I went to school where there was a classroom, that kids were given up on. Pushed through grades and just passed to get them out. I grew up in the 80's and early 90's in the school system which was pretty harsh in my neck of the woods. I went to a middle/high school where students got taken to prison. I went to middle school that had drug problems' that had gang reality' so I don't know how this movie could be unreal, because some of the classrooms I've been in, had some really bad apples. Those Apples, just needed guidance, and a different approach to education. So in my viewpoint, it makes the realism spot on. Some kids never get the chance. Some kids are pushed away or fall victim to poverty, race, or learning disabilities.

This is a film that has stood the test of time, and is as powerful today, as it was then. I think one can learn from this film, and take many emotions, when it’s over with.

One of the true characters in the film that stands out is the rebellious Denham played wonderfully by Christian Roberts. A very dramatic role that stands in cinema history. Roberts is possibly best known for this role, but has been in many other films. He played in one of the greatest, forgotten psychological films of the 60’s, the amazing, 1968’s Twisted Nerve; which is a great disturbing film and who is reading this, should track down and watch. He also starred in the black comedy, The Anniversary. In his career he has acted alongside some of the greats of the acting industry. The stunning one of a kind Bette Davis. Tough man and legend Jack Palance. The embodiment of perfection Olivia de Havilland. The brilliant Ernest Borgnine. The amazing Omar Shariff and Michael Caine in 1971’s brilliant, The Last Valley. He has acted with countless top notch performers. I still think his best is in the role of Denham, alongside Sidney Poitier. Sadly he has not acted since the early 90’s.

Also starring someone I am a huge fan of. I have followed her career and love anything she does. The very beautiful and talented actress, Judy Geeson. She plays the memorable part of Pamela Dare. This basically was her first major feature film starring role. She still acts today and is always one of those performers you remember, or at least I do. I think she shines in all the roles she has taken on, from this one, and for the many others including, starring next to, the very classification of what acting is, Joan Crawford, in Berserk. I will always remember her for, To Sir, with Love, but I think I remember her most, in, 1970’s Poldark series. I grew up watching old British productions of TV and film and so seeing, the utter masterpiece, and one of the highest quality British series ever done, was Poldark, then and still today holds the reign. It was 29 episodes, telling the complete novels and was a fantastic experience to view. If you ever get a chance, watch this amazing series, based on brilliant books. She also starred alongside the legend and cowboy god himself, John Wayne in 1975’s Brannigan. Now here is where I have to step aside, from the so called top notch, award worthy cinema or masterpiece mentality of film, and step, into the beyond of cinema. My guilty pleasures. Judy has been in some of my favorite Drive-in horror films. My ultimate love for b-movie and modern horror classics. Her latest being one of my favorite films, that truly is misunderstand and overlooked, 2012’s unique, fever dream of Satanism, Rob Zombie’s The Lords of Salem. Love her in her part. Farther back, she was in the Hammer Films, 1972, Fear in the Night, which is sadly another forgotten mystery thriller; a true shame. Now moving into the cheesy, wonderment of cinema, you have her starring in, 1973’s It Happened at Nightmare Inn. She also graced the screen with the great one of kind Jean Simmons in the horror, 1979’s Dominique. Now I have to mention, the ultra-cheesy b-movie classic, oozing, with total cheese, the one and only, 1981’s Inseminoid, a.k.a. Horror Planet. Whatever Geeson stared in, caught my eyes. I think she is a golden ticket of acting perfection. Her role in, To Sir, with Love, is fantastic and her character is brought to life in a believable way, that stands out for the one watching.

To Sir, with Love also stars Suzy Kendall. Lovers of Giallo cinema and the 60’s and 70’s will know this beauty. She starred in one of the greatest Giallo films in cinema history, 1970’s, Dario Argento’s The Bird with the Crystal Plumage. Her role of Giulia, in The Bird with the Crystal Plumage is her golden ticket of perfection. I grew watching, Old Italian Giallo and horror films and this one is one of the greatest, and might I add, the directorial debut of a master –or at least in his older work--- Dario Argento. Suzy, surprisingly, disappeared for 35 years from the acting world. Her last role was in 1977, until she popped out, and ended up creating another iconic performance in the 2012 psychological thriller, Berberian Sound Studio. I love her roles in the 60’s and 70’s and her performance in, To Sir, with Love, is one of those, like Geeson’s performance, very memorable and stands out.

It’s amazing how many important stars you can pinpoint in To Sir, with Love. It’s like a huge portal of mastery in acting. Also starring Ann Bell who is another film goddess. I best remember her not for, To Sir, with Love, but for the BBC World War 2 drama series that I grew up watching 1981’s Tenko. She played the wonderful character, Marion Jefferson. Now if there ever was a series you should watch, it’s this 1981 to 1984’s Tenko. It lasted 31 episodes, 3 seasons, and is a must see experience, and one of those reasons is, because of Ann Bell.

Another legend and god in the acting world who has a part in, To Sir, with Love. Geoffrey Bayldon. Now Bayldon was already a stable actor way before, To Sir, with Love. All you have to do is look to his talent and acting roles before, To Sir with Love and know what I mean. Starring in his glorious career over 200 roles. An amazing man of acting perfection. From some of the greatest TV series, mini-series and films. From Hammer Productions alongside Christopher Lee in 1958’s Horror of Dracula, to Shakespearean roles, to mystery, suspense, drama, children’s and so much more. Master is just a word, until you watch Bayldon perform. He has become an icon in a cult following like reality. This is why, I know him so much, from being a part of many classic TV series. The Avengers, The Saint, Catweazle, The Tomorrow People, Worzel Gummidge, Doctor Who, where he played the memorable character Organon, which might I add, that he was originally sought after to be the first Doctor Who, and also, sought after, to be the Second Doctor Who, but turned it down. Started acting at the beginning of the 50’s, and acted all the way up to 2010, being his last performance. He shines in the excellence and art-form of being a performer. Loved his role in, To Sir, with Love and everything he did..

To Sir, with Love also has Patricia Routledge in a part. I grew up watching her, because of my grandmother, and her love for BBC comedies. Routledge, stared in one the greatest comedy sitcoms to date, Keeping Up Appearances. To Serve with Love stars an amazing cast of young actors that went on to star in many TV productions and feature films. Chris Chittell, which To Sir, with Love was his first feature film. He went on to star in one of my favorite TV shows, The Tomorrow People. Believe it or note it was not, To Sir, with Love, when I first saw him act in something. It was the long running BBC TV series, Emmerdale. He started acting in the part of character, Eric Pollard in 1986, and is still as of this writing acting the part. It’s one of the longest running shows out there, and he has graced it, from 1986 to 2015. Last two, but not least, I want to mention in To Sir, with Love, is first, someone that really needs no introduction, Lulu, who played the character of Babs in, To Sir, with Love. Lulu is a golden singer, actor and pop star. She has shined throughout her countless career. The song to the soundtrack of To Sir, with Love, by the same name, is one of the greatest catchy songs ever created for a film, and is remembered today, as it was when it came out. Lulu is a golden star of perfection in everything she has done. I love her talent and her beauty. Lastly I have to mention a personal favorite of mine, because like others I have mentioned, I grew up watching him in many, Drive-in style, or guilty pleasure pieces of cinema, and that’s, non-other than, Michael Des Barres. This British actor and Rock singer is pure childhood memories to me. Now all you 80’s and early 90’s TV watchers, will know him for the character of Murdoc, in the long running MacGyver. I will always remember him not only for, To Sir, with Love, but also for the b-movie wonders like 1984’s Ghoulies, 1987’s Nightflyers or Waxwork 2 Lost in Time. He has one of those memorable faces and amazing voices.

Now shockingly there was a part 2 to this. A 1996 made for TV movie where Sidney Poitier comes back in the role. Nothing like the original, but yet still is a decent film, just for the fact seeing Sidney as the character again makes it worthwhile.

Twilight Time brought out another example of a product that many companies out there, should take a look at in what to do. I enjoy when films are given, new outlets with care, and understanding of the art-form of cinema, and Twilight Time did that, with this release. I found this release, as I have stated, dear to my heart for it being one of my parents first movie dates, buts it is so much more to me because the story is something to express and watch and understand. It truly is a meaningful film. 

Audio: 5/5

I found no problem with this in listening to the voices, music and singing. It all came together as something to represent perfection in this reality. Nice ear candy.
English: DTS-HD Master Audio Mono
Music: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0

English SDH

Video: 4/5

This has never look so good and I mean that. It’s crisp and smooth to the eyes. I have seen this film probably more than hundred times in my life and each time is a different experience, from whatever version I am watching. VHS, DVD, and TV cannot compare with this video quality. Twilight Time did an awesome job in capturing this on Blu-ray format for this new generation, or older generation to experience it, all over again, in a new clean vision.   

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Resolution: 1080p
Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
Original aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Extras: 5/5

You get audio commentaries with both Judy Geeson alongside the wonderful film historian Julie Kirgo and also Nick Redman. This listen was great because you got a lot of facts and also personal views from the making of the film. Then you have the man himself E.R. Braithwaite, who wrote the book based on his life. There he talks about the story, and how it resembles many parts of his own.

And being a Twilight Time Blu-ray you get the wonderful Isolated Score, which has been given in DTS-HD master audio 2.0.

I really liked the feature called E.R. Braithwaite: In His Own Words. This is given in 1080p and runs a little over 20 minutes. To be able to experience the author himself sitting down and reading from his book and explaining is something, truly unforgettable and magical. Twilight Time gave me more with this reality then it has any other time. I being a movie buff, plus a diehard obsessed reader, was in heaven with this.

Next you get a feature, Lulu and the B-side, presented in 1080p and runs a little over 5 minutes. This is a great little short feature in that the artist talks about how the song To Sir, with Love became a huge hit.

Next you get a little over 15 minute program titled Miniskirts, Blue Jeans and Pop Music, presented in 1080p. This is a program about the culture of the swinging 60’s of London.

Next a little over 5 minute short titled To Sidney with Love from Marty Baum. Presented in 1080p. 
This is a remembrance of Sidney by his agent Marty Baum. Very touching.

A program running about 11 minutes titled Principal El: He Chose to Stay. Presented in 1080p. This is a program with commentator Salome Thomas EL, which talks about the very importance of helping underprivileged kids and giving a commitment to it.

Overall Product Rating:

Film: 4/5
Audio: 5/5
Video: 4/5
Extras: 5/5

Product Rating: 4/5

Highly recommend. Can’t speak enough about this movie and this product. Twilight Time did an amazing job in bringing this out. They know how to pick the films that deserve an outlet, or a new approach. I have in honesty never seen this so vibrant and new, as it is on this Blu-ray. All those actors and people behind the scenes that made this film, who still are alive and those in memory who have passed, should feel the honor and respect with this blu-ray, and what it does, for this amazing piece of cinema.

As always, it seems Twilight Time has not let this movie lover, movie fiend down. They aced the hole in one, again, in capturing a piece of cinema. Twilight Time saw it worthy, and handled it with care, and love and this blu-ray shows that.  


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