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  Young and the Guilty, The The Eighth Deadly Sin Is To See Evil Where None Exists
Year: 1958
Director: Peter Cotes
Stars: Phyllis Calvert, Andrew Ray, Edward Chapman, Janet Munro, Campbell Singer, Hilda Fenemore, Jean St. Clair, Sonia Rees
Genre: Drama, RomanceBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: Eddie Marshall (Andrew Ray) is a schoolboy who has the chance to go to university if he is able to pass his exams, and his doting mother Maude (Hilda Fenemore) has pinned all her hopes and dreams to his success, though his father Joe (Campbell Singer) doesn't make much of an effort to keep up with his son's academic interests, preferring the pub and the football that Eddie just isn't captivated by in the least. In fact, what is engaging the lad is not only his studies, but the prospect of a lasting romance with Sue Connor (Janet Munro), a teenager who he loves in an infatuated manner, making every excuse to spend time with her at the local café staring into her eyes and exchanging sweet nothings. But it's the passionate love letters the chaste couple pen that prove a problem...

For many a British B-movie, of which this was a modest example, one of the simplest methods of settling on a script would be to adapt a television play to the big screen, therefore many a drama which would last about an hour on the box would be expanded for the movies, though in this case the expansion was not exactly over-enthusiastic since the film version barely lasted over an hour anyway. The cross-breeding between the two media suggested the great rivalry between them was not entirely the case, the reasoning being that if you had missed the play on television you could make the effort to see it at the cinema, especially if the original enjoyed a favourable reputation, and besides, some might have wished to see the story again.

No way of recording your favourite TV shows in the comfort of your own home in those days, after all, and the screenwriter Ted Willis, no stranger to the more realistic forms of drama which emerged to popular and critical acclaim in this decade, must have welcomed the opportunity to return to this material to ensure it would reach a further audience. How many it would actually stay with was a different matter: you could imagine the occasional youngster in the throes of first love responding to the plight of Eddie and Sue and recalling this for years afterwards, but these days it would best be retained because it represented an early role for Janet Munro, for whom a cult has grown up thanks to her rather tragic life. It was as these young innocent roles with which she made her name, and with her wholesomely pretty looks she won the hearts of many moviegoers.

Alas, this was to be her downfall, as she became a Disney star and when she tried to graduate to more adult works, her fans were not keen on going with her. Soon she and husband Ian Hendry were becoming notorious alcoholics, a condition that was to kill them both by and by (they eventually divorced), with Janet succumbing before she even reached the age of forty. Naturally such an emotional tale will make film buffs sentimental about the loss of a talent who was ill-served by her profession, and watching her in this yarn of young love facing up to the adult responsibilities that romance inevitably develops into she radiated apple-cheeked sincerity that still has the audience in her thrall to this day. Outside of that, what you had was a prototype for the camp classic of the eighties Endless Love only with far fewer laughs as over-earnest Eddie ends up breaking into Sue's home to profess his love for her, much to the outrage of her father (Mr Grimsdale himself Edward Chapman), though sensible mum Phyllis Calvert is more understanding. The sincere but unspectacular action is confined to a succession of suburban rooms, TV-style. Music by Sydney John Kay.

[Network's DVD features a nice, unblemished print and a trailer as its extra.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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