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Talking about a film with confessions at its heart, I'll make one of my own...I had never seen this film before and initially only bought it because Dai Bradley was in it. Watching it had me enthralled from start to finish. It's hard to describe without giving spoilers for first time viewers but it's incredibly clever, tense and creepy and keeps you guessing right to the last minute, and even then I never saw the twist at the end coming. The isolated rural setting combined with the claustrophobia of the school adds to the tense atmosphere and the acting is superb all round. It asks a lot of psychological questions which you'll find yourself pondering afterwards too. The picture is a bit grainy but not to the extent that it troubled me, it's quite clear enough to see in detail and for a hard to find title, I'm just glad to have it.
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on 22 January 2010
Father Goddard(Richard Burton) is a dour, pious Latin teacher in a Catholic Boarding School. He denies his pupils any luxury, denying them football on television and discarding the devil's aftershave. Among the pupils are confident, aloof teacher's favourite Benjie Stanfield(Dominic Guard),nervous, needy Arthur Dyson(Dai Bradley, rather wonderful) and posh, snobbish Cawley(Robert Addie). A travelling Biker called Blakey(Billy Connelly) comes into their lives, first being turned away from the school after looking for work, then setting up camp in the nearby woods, befriending Stanfield, much to Goddard's chagrin. Recriminations follow, leading to a series of dubious confessions, a psychological game of cat and mouse and worst of all the discovery of a body in the woods.
This is a pretty decent psychological thriller, with good perfromances, especially by the younger members of the cast,Richard Burton is also good, reverting to eye rolling mode after being rather understated for the first act of the film. Scripted by the brilliant Anthony Schaffer, the plot is a little thin for the running time allocated to it, but despite dragging a bit, its still a fascinating study into religious hypocrisy and the sancity of the confessional. There are a couple of touches that push the film into horror film territory as well.
The main negative aspect is the DVD release, with a very poor, washed out and jerky picture transfer being a real let down. This lowered my score, as it did with a previous viewer, as surely with a film only 30 years old, a better restoration job could have been done. 4 out of 5 for the film, 2 out of 5 for the release, rounded up to 3 out of 5.
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on 22 June 2017
Picture quality on this film is just awful, it may be a very good film, but I cant watch it because the picture is so bad, its worse than vhs quality, buyer beware. Disc was new but cant have been made from original negative.
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on 18 June 2011
i like the curious mixture of actors in this film. the clash of Richard Burton's classical acting and Billy Connelly's easy style translates to their characters too. a decent story and good production values make it well worth watching. good banjo playing as well.
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on 16 December 2016
Father Goddard (Richard Burton) teaches Latin at St. Anthony's boys school. Benjei Stanfield (Dominic Guard) is among his favourite students. However, he has failed to connect with Arthur Dyson in a positive way. Dyson wears a leg brace. He is picked on because he is bothersome. He looks to Father Goddard and Benjei for close friendship, but gets rejected.

Meanwhile Blakely, a hippie biker (Billy Connolly) camps out in the woods nearby and has befriend Benjei who sneaks out at night to see him. Blakely's basic life philosophy contradicts the church and he places the idea in Benjei's head of feeding Father Goddard a false confession of a serious nature, one that would cause him to go crazy because he has to keep the secret: "A priest may not break the seal of confession" for any reason. Oh let the head games begin.

This is an older film I had not seen before. I loved the twist. Part of a 70's fifty film DVD pact.

Guide: No swearing, sex, or nudity.
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on 17 January 2009
one of the best movies from the master Richard Burton,with an unusual Billy Connoly playing a serious part for a change,it doesnt get the 5 stars as the picture quality is of video cd taken from a VHS tape.Wy was it not digitally remastered or cleand for our DVD??
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on 2 October 2013
This is a hidden gem in Burtons cannon of work a dark morally ambiguous film set in the secluded world of a prestigious Catholic boys school.
Those looking for a neat film which eventually stitches the actions and desires of the characters into some neat morale order need look elsewhere. Burton is cast against type as a pious man of the cloth who must contain his own feelings for two students one he holds in unfair contempt due to the boys disability the other he holds in high esteem due to the boy representing everything the other does not. So much of Burton film carrier was consumed with acting in popcorn fodder which often betrayed the genius he possessed as one of Britons greatest actors , Nowadays remembered more for his marriage to Elizabeth Taylor and his endless thirst for booze as a pose to his artist talent which got him into the Hollywood A list in the first place.
Burton came back to Britain to make this movie in the late seventies and was a last minute replacement in the part which had been intended for Christopher Lee a thankful occurrence since Lee was never a great actor and nobody does pain and simmering fury better then Burton did.
This is a Hitchcock type thriller to a point but puts more emphasis on character interaction and emotional motive then providing a easy to piece dramatic jigsaw puzzle for the viewer. Billy Conolly is well cast as more or less a big screen depiction of himself in an early dramatic role the two boys act well and the secluded setting really adds an air of threat to proceedings.
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on 5 March 2013
what a good film so good is Richard Burton, one of many great films that he stared in 100% good
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on 4 April 2008
A well-told story combined with superb acting and convincing characters. Certainly worth it. It's also interesting to watch Billy Connolly in a serious role - a challenge to which he rises.
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on 14 April 2014
Bought it to watch the motorbike. As good as I remembered the film even if I still can't ID the model
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