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A story as fresh as the girls in their minis. . .and as cool as their teacher had to be!
Sidney Poitier, who in 1955 played a student in a tough inner-city high school, portrays a teacher assigned to a similar institution in To Sir, With Love. Unable to find work as an engineer, Poitier accepts a teaching post in London's East End slums. To reach his sullen, rebellious students, Poitier throws away his textbooks and endeavors to reach them as human beings--and as the adults they're going to become. It's an uphill climb, but gradually the students are won over. They begin referring to Poitier as "Sir," not out of blind obedience but as a gesture of genuine affection. Not that there aren't obstacles to overcome: in addition to trying to get through to hardcase student Christian Roberts, Poitier must face down the resistance and hostility of his fellow teachers. The sweetly sentimental finale amply displays the vocal talents of Lulu, who trills the title song. Based on the novel by E. R. Brainwaite, To Sir, With Love was one of the biggest moneyspinners of 1967 (with this film, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner and In the Heat of the Night, Sidney Poitier had quite a year). In 1996, a belated made-for-TV sequel was produced, briefly reuniting To Sir with Love co-stars Sidney Poiter, Lulu and Judy Geason, none of whom looked a day older.
To Sir, with Love is a 1967 British drama film starring Sidney Poitier that deals with social and racial issues in an inner city school. James Clavell both directed and wrote the film's screenplay, based on the semi-autobiographical novel To Sir, With Love by E. R. Braithwaite.
The movie opened to positive reviews and good box office returns in both Britain and the U.S. Some felt the film was a little routine, but did like Poitier as the teacher in the film. It premiered and became a hit one month before another film about troubled schools, Up the Down Staircase, appeared. Halliwell's Film and Video Guide describes it as "sentimental non-realism" and quotes a Monthly Film Bulletin review (possibly contemporary with its British release) which claims that "the sententious script sounds as if it has been written by a zealous Sunday school teacher after a particularly exhilarating boycott of South African oranges". The Time Out Film Guide says that it "bears no resemblance to school life as we know it" and the "hoodlums miraculous reformation a week before the end of term (thanks to teacher Poitier) is laughable". Although agreeing with the claims about the film's sentimentality, and giving it a mediocre rating, the Virgin Film Guide asserts "What makes [this] such as enjoyable film is the mythic nature of Poitier's character. He manages to come across as a real person, while simultaneously embodying everything there is to know about morality, respect and integrity.
Release Date: June 14, 1967 @ The Cinema II
Distrib: Columbia Pictures
Box Office $42,432,803 2013: $292,455,000