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We quickly understand, of course, that these are not bad children, but poor, often hungry survivors of the Blitz.

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Braithwaite gradually wins the respect of his charges. He treats them as "adults," after a fashion, and requires they treat each other in class with the formal courtesies that would have been expected in the workplace at that time.

BBC - To Sir With Love Revisited - Media Centre

While demanding a level of decorum, he addresses social and personal issues along with the established curriculum. Several incidents bring them closer together: a female student's problems with her mother and her own crush - cum -subsitute-father-search, a male student's injury by a bullying teacher. Perhaps most significant is the funeral of a student's mother. The student is of mixed race, and his female friends, in particular, initially refuse to attend because they fear the local gossip that would follow if they entered a " Negro " household.

The issue of racism does not disappear, but it never dominates the book. Race plays a more significant role in Braithwaite's relationships with other adults. He must deal with inappropriate comments from the staff asshat. The attitudes of the general public, meanwhile, challenge his nascent relationship with a young female teacher.

The adult clashes, he ultimately concludes, are "of no great importance, so long as" their "repercussions did not enter the classrooms. It was the children, not the teachers, who mattered" Braithwaite can seem self-aggrandizing and self-righteous.

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While he condemns racism for the dangerous nonsense it is, his own attitudes can be classist and sexist. A devout believer in the best of the British Empire , he enters the East End like a Victorian explorer some dark edge of the map, certain he must tame and convert the savages. This attitude, however, is hardly unusual among teachers. He allows that his own views can be flawed; he recognizes his tendency to judge quickly, especially when angered.

Most importantly, he understands that youth need to make the transition into adulthood and personal responsibility, soon and quickly. We can quibble with the expectations his society has for men and women, but his intentions are noble. I found many of his attitudes less patronizing than those implicit in a culture which infantilizes everyone under the age of eighteen. Less impressive examples of the "inspirational teacher" genre exist, and this book retains its charm, though it has become something of a period piece.

Director: James Clavell Writers: E. The hit film follows the plot of the novel closely, and includes significant portions of original dialogue.

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The central character's name has been changed, and chapters dealing with his background did not make it into the script. The movie only suggests his relationship with his colleague, Gillian. His relationship with the children, not the teachers, is what matters. The story has been updated to the s , and this defines the movie. To Sir, With Love remains in people's minds a film of the Swingin' Sixties, with its mini-skirted schoolgirls , groovy fashions, topical 60s references , and hit parade theme song.

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The film also has a certain contrived 60s attitude. In the novel, he maintained the curriculum, while incorporating issues relevant to their lives. Sidney Poitier's charismatic performance as Mark Thackeray rises above an occasionally hokey script. The young actors who play the students are not at Poitier's level, but they turn in credible performances. To Sir, With Love sentimentalizes an already sentimental novel, but it also contains some issues that seemed gritty in a teen film of the time, such as moderately rough language, crude class behavior, and a mother with a sleepover boyfriend.

Attraction across racial lines the film depicts without the hysteria that accompanied the subject in America; a student's crush on her teacher it also handles in a matter-of-fact manner. The notorious scene with the stove makes it into the movie, and may be the first reference to a feminine hygiene product in a mainstream film.

To Sir, With Love had a low budget, and it shows. Sets have been kept to a minimum.

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A montage of still photographs represents a field trip. The students wear the same costumes for much of the school year. The film became a huge hit despite these shortcomings. It remains popular because of its feel-good message, strong central performance, and nostalgic 60s vibe. Don Black and Mark London wrote the film's eponymous theme song. It appears as the title theme, and Lulu sings a reprise in the film's concluding scene. One of her greatest hits collections was entitled From Crayons to Perfume for a line from the song. Billboard also ranked the song No.

TO SIR, WITH LOVE (1967) (***1/2)

Soul, funk, reggae and instrumental versions exist. Versions have been popular in Australia and New Zealand. They keep having new versions coming out constantly. Everyone knows it…. London has written and co-written countless other hits and had a multifaceted career as an actor, manager and producer.

Although he lived in Great Britain for decades, he recently moved back home to Montreal. Go back. All inducted songs. To Sir With Love. Don Black Lyricist. Mark London Composer. Michael Stipe. To most of the millions who enjoyed To Sir With Love as the theme song sung by pop singer Lulu in the film of the same name, the song is British. Black acquiesced, writing them in his kitchen in Mill Hill, North London. Read full story. Related News.