Unman, Wittering and Zigo 1971 ***

The unusual title comes from the last three names on a register called by idealistic teacher John Ebony (David Hemmings) in John Mackenzie’s adaptation of a play by Giles Cooper. Ebony takes up his post only to find the mood of the class is ugly; they hint at their collective responsibility for the death of Ebony’s predecessor, and it’s clear that Lower 5B have ominous plans for Ebony and his wife (Carolyn Seymour). Mackenzie’s film has a subversive feel for the mind-games of the pupils, and builds to some impressively tense scenes as Ebony’s dream job becomes a nightmare. There’s also a roll-call of British TV stars in support, from Barbara Lott (Ronnie Corbett’s mother in sitcom Sorry) to Tony Haygarth and Douglas Wilmer.


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