HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
1 chance sur 2
Betterman
Scooby-Doo! Abracadabra-Doo
Yin Yang Master, The
Hail, Mafia!
Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase
Mirai
Strange House, The
Morfalous, Les
Dreambuilders
Everything Went Fine
Lux AEterna
Rum Runners
Fairy and the Devil, The
Mad God
Outside the Law
I Remember Mama
Superman Unbound
Lawrence of Belgravia
House Across the Lake, The
Wonder Park
Hornsby e Rodriguez
Operation Mincemeat
5 Kung Fu Daredevil Heroes
Scoob!
Earwig
Offseason
Peau Douce, La
Double Indemnity
Na Cha and the Seven Devils
Deep Murder
Superman vs. the Elite
Adam Project, The
Osamu Tezuka's Last Mystery of the 20th Century
Horse, La
Buffaloed
Train Robbers, The
Let Sleeping Cops Lie
Abominable
Funeral, The
   
 
Newest Articles
3 From Arrow Player: Sweet Sugar, Girls Nite Out and Manhattan Baby
Little Cat Feat: Stephen King's Cat's Eye on 4K UHD
La Violence: Dobermann at 25
Serious Comedy: The Wrong Arm of the Law on Blu-ray
DC Showcase: Constantine - The House of Mystery and More on Blu-ray
Monster Fun: Three Monster Tales of Sci-Fi Terror on Blu-ray
State of the 70s: Play for Today Volume 3 on Blu-ray
The Movie Damned: Cursed Films II on Shudder
The Dead of Night: In Cold Blood on Blu-ray
Suave and Sophisticated: The Persuaders! Take 50 on Blu-ray
Your Rules are Really Beginning to Annoy Me: Escape from L.A. on 4K UHD
A Woman's Viewfinder: The Camera is Ours on DVD
Chaplin's Silent Pursuit: Modern Times on Blu-ray
The Ecstasy of Cosmic Boredom: Dark Star on Arrow
A Frosty Reception: South and The Great White Silence on Blu-ray
You'll Never Guess Which is Sammo: Skinny Tiger and Fatty Dragon on Blu-ray
Two Christopher Miles Shorts: The Six-Sided Triangle/Rhythm 'n' Greens on Blu-ray
Not So Permissive: The Lovers! on Blu-ray
Uncomfortable Truths: Three Shorts by Andrea Arnold on MUBI
The Call of Nostalgia: Ghostbusters Afterlife on Blu-ray
Moon Night - Space 1999: Super Space Theater on Blu-ray
Super Sammo: Warriors Two and The Prodigal Son on Blu-ray
Sex vs Violence: In the Realm of the Senses on Blu-ray
What's So Funny About Brit Horror? Vampira and Bloodbath at the House of Death on Arrow
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
   
 
  Serious Charge Living Hell
Year: 1959
Director: Terence Young
Stars: Anthony Quayle, Sarah Churchill, Andrew Ray, Irene Browne, Percy Herbert, Noel Howlett, Wensely Pithey, Leigh Madison, Judith Furse, Jean Cadell, Wilfrid Brambell, Olive Sloane, George Roderick, Cliff Richard, Liliane Brousse, Wilfred Pickles
Genre: DramaBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: Larry Thompson (Andrew Ray) is a teenage ne'erdowell who has a gang of followers among this smalltown, captivated by his anti-establishment attitude and way with slang that makes him sound more American. But Larry is not a good guy to get to know, as his girlfriend Mary (Leigh Madison) finds out when he flat rejects her for getting too close to him, causing her no end of heartache. Today, when he visits a juvenile hearing at the local courts where his brother Curley (Cliff Richard) is being threatened with a spell in borstal, he brushes with the local vicar, Howard Phillips (Anthony Quayle), a do-gooder who is trying to set Curley on the straight and narrow path, but will Larry prove too much of a bad influence?

If Serious Charge is recalled for anything these days, it will be because it was the first film to feature then-teen pop singing pin-up Cliff Richard, who was soon to have his first number one hit off the back of this with a different, more laid back version of Living Doll than was heard during the movie. At the time, however, it was additionally known for being an adaptation of a sensational play by Philip King which had been wowing audiences for its frank depiction of a man wrongly accused of molesting a teenage boy, not the sort of drama that would have made it to the screen before in British cinemas, remembering this was also released at a time when homosexuality was illegal.

Rape remains illegal, of course, but the subject matter undoubtedly offered this an edginess that it would not otherwise have had, not in a British flick emulating the success of Hollywood juvenile delinquency movies at any rate. With the youth movement gripping pop culture on both sides of the Atlantic, for the first hour of this it could be any number of lame copies of rougher product from Tinseltown, with Quayle as the well-meaning, tough but fair man of the cloth (he even plays football in matches televised on national TV!) butting heads with the utterly unsympathetic Larry who, we learn, has made Mary pregnant but is more interested in seducing Phillips' French maid Liliane Brousse (because there had to be some French girl in these efforts post-Brigitte Bardot).

All this is rather stodgy, even embarrassing as you could see the benchmarks of the likes of The Wild One or The Blackboard Jungle that director Terence Young and company were aiming for, and how quaint this was actually coming across when you watched it, but then there's a twist as Larry, trying to cover up his actions with regard to Mary, accuses Phillips of trying to rape him (the script didn't use that word, but made it clear that was what it meant). To make matters worse, the spinster and church assistant Hester (Sarah Churchill, daughter of wartime Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill) who has been pining for the vicar stumbled upon Larry causing a ruckus and assumes the worst when the teen makes up his story since the pillar of the community has just rejected her earlier that very evening.

Soon rumours are rife and Phillips has been ostracised, with abusive mail sent to him, no congregation showing up and threatening acts visited upon his person, though he's good at boxing so can deck Larry's aggressive father (Percy Herbert) when push comes to shove. However, the cards are stacked against him: a single, middle-aged man, living with his mother, turning down his best bet at marriage, supposedly hiding behind a front of social concern, well, he's patently a raving pervert so who needs evidence? This does resolve itself with justice served, reminding us there's nothing like injustice to get an audience interested, and it's true to say this part of the film is far more absorbing than a film of this vintage with these themes might be expected to be. On the other hand, it is wrapped up a shade too readily, and you have to sympathise with Phillips when he's aggrieved that his previously unbesmirched character could have so much mud stick to him when the villagers wouldn't listen to reason. So about an hour of stodge, and half an hour of provocative tension. Music by Leighton Lucas.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 2356 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
Mary Sibley
Enoch Sneed
Graeme Clark
  Desbris M
  Sheila Reeves
Paul Smith
   

 

Last Updated: