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Monday, August 5, 2013

Term Of Trial (1962)

A mild mannered schoolmaster (Laurence Olivier) is stuck in a dead end job and an unhappy marriage to a French wife (Simone Signoret). When an overdeveloped teenage girl (Sarah Miles in her film debut) develops a crush on him, she attempts to seduce him but he rejects her. In revenge, she accuses him of assaulting her. It's hard what to make of TERM OF TRIAL. It's intentions seem honorable enough but it has the air of a "ripped from the headlines" exploitation movie. Based on the novel by James Barlow, the director Peter Glenville manages to keep a lid on the more lurid aspects of the story but both Olivier's and Miles' characters seem too artfully constructed to comes across as real. As a director, Glenville has an assured hand with actors as he showed with films like SUMMER AND SMOKE and BECKET and he doesn't fail us here. The most interesting character though is Signoret as the wife. An uneducated woman in a foreign country whose contempt for her husband's weakness has made her a bitter harridan. Now, a film about how those two got together in the first place would make for a fascinating film. The film contains the only film score composed by the classical composer Jean Michel Damase. With Terence Stamp (also in his film debut), Hugh Griffith, Roland Culver, Thora Hird, Allan Cuthberson, Barbara Ferris and Julia Foster.

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