To Sir, with Love (Blu-ray) (1967)
|Year Of Production||1967|
|RSDL / Flipper||Dual Layered||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||James Clavell|
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||English DTS HD Master Audio 2.0|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.85:1|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||Miscellaneous|
|Subtitles||English for the Hearing Impaired||Smoking||Yes|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Mark Thackeray (Sidney Poitier) is an engineer who cannot get a job so accepts a position as a teacher at a school in the East End of London. There he is given the worst class; a sullen and rebellious group of working class teens who in a few months will be leaving school and so do everything in their power to break Mark’s spirit. Initially Mark struggles, not only because of the hostile class leaders Denham (Christian Roberts) and Potter (Chris Chittell), but also because of the disillusioned and cynical fellow teacher Theo Weston (Geoffrey Bayldon), who delights in making comments about the colour of Mark’s skin, although Mark does gain support from Gillian (Suzy Kendall), another novice teacher at the school. When Mark despairs of ever getting through to his class, he decides on a new tactic; he dumps the books and decides instead to teach his students about life so that they are fit to leave school and enter the world. He gradually gains the respect of the class as they move towards graduation although there are complications, not the least being that one of the students, Pamela (Judy Geeson), starts to fall in love with him.
To Sir, with Love is based on the semi-autobiographical novel by E. R. Braithwaite while the screenwriter / director was James Clavell. He is perhaps better known as a writer with novels such as Shogun and King Rat on his resume although he does have other screenplay credits, including The Great Escape (1963). As a director Clavell has only a handful of features; his direction of To Sir, with Love is functional.
The film is, however, well served by the cast. Sidney Poitier had already won a best actor Oscar for Lilies of the Field (1963), the only African American to win that award until Denzel Washington almost 4 decades later, and he would go on in the next few years after To Sir, with Love to star in socially important films such as In the Heat of the Night and Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?. His Mark Thackeray is a man of will, understanding and integrity, and Poitier effortlessly carries the picture. The other cast members Christian Roberts, Chris Chittell, Suzy Kendall and Judy Geeson are acceptable, while British pop star Lulu in her first screen role is pretty good, as well as singing that catchy #1 hit song.
The story of an inspirational teacher who turns around (more or less) a class of misfits or delinquents has been done to death over the years, including the Oscar nominated Blackboard Jungle (1955) in which, incidentally, Sidney Poitier had a part, and To Sir, with Love breaks no new ground. One might also be a bit cynical about the message of the film, the conduct of the class members which is lost and rebellious rather than delinquent and the supposition that a teacher can dump the curriculum without problems to teach the students about life and how to make a salad, for example. But once you get past the hair, the music and the clothes that can only be the 1960s, To Sir, with Love is a well-intentioned, well made, entertaining, life affirming story whose climax can still bring a tear to your eye.
To Sir, with Love is presented in the 1.85:1 aspect ratio, in 1080p, using the MPEG-4 AVC code.
This is a nice looking print. There is softness and obvious grain in the few exterior wide shots but interiors and close-ups are strong. Colours are natural, blacks and shadow detail good, brightness and contrast consistent and skin tones fine. There are no obvious marks or artefacts.
English subtitles for the hearing impaired are available in a clear white font.
Audio is English DTS-HD MA 2.0. The film was released theatrically with a mono audio.
There is a little music and crowd noise, such as during class breaks, in the rears. Dialogue is clear throughout, effects, such as the slamming of desktop, sharp enough. The original score by Ron Grainer is low key. There is in addition that hit song performed by Lulu and some additional music by The Mindbenders (probably a band best remembered for Groovy Kind of Love).
I did not notice any hiss or distortion.
Lip synchronisation was good, and even acceptable during the musical lip-synced numbers.
|Surround Channel Use|
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
To Sir, with Love, with that catchy #1 hit song and an excellent performance by Sidney Poitier, breaks no new ground in the genre of a novice teacher dealing with a class of tough and rebellious teens, but fifty years after its release it remains an excellent, entertaining and life-affirming film.
The film looks fine on Blu-ray, the audio is good. A trailer is the only extra and we miss out on the extras available in other regions.
To Sir, with Love was released here on DVD many years ago. For fans of the film the DVD was reviewed on this site here. The Blu-ray has a good HD presentation, lossless audio, and the same trailer as an extra which, for fans, would be enough to warrant an upgrade. This Blu-ray also forms part of the To Sir, with Love: Complete Collection which also includes To Sir, with Love 2 from 1996. A bonus for fans of the films or of Sidney Poitier.
|DVD||Sony BDP-S580, using HDMI output|
|Display||LG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.|
|Audio Decoder||NAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.|
|Speakers||Studio Acoustics 5.1|