Term of Trial (1962)

Term of Trial (1962), directed by Peter Glenville.

A seedy English teacher struggles in a tough city school. The kids know he is alcoholic. His French wife holds him in contempt because he is a pacifist who did not fight in the war. The louts in his class will test his non-violent principles.

He takes a special interest in one of the girls in his class; fatherly we suppose, although you never know. Her crush on him is definitely not daughterly. Remember the Police song: Don't Stand So Close to Me.

Then: field trip to Paris, a hotel room, rejection, tears, accusation, police, trial.

Laurence Olivier gives his best type of performance here, dialing it back and being a normal actor rather than relying on star power.

Simone Signoret (Diabolique (1955)) as the wife gives an unexpected twist ending.

Debut film for both Sarah Miles and second for Terence Stamp (after Billy Budd (1962)). Gossip has it that Olivier (54) and Miles (19) had a real affair during filming.

Natalie Wood was the first choice for her role.

Photographed by Oswald Morris.

Available on DVD from Warner Archive. Soft image.