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Unman, Wittering and Zigo (1971)

A new school teacher learns that the previous teacher was killed by his pupils, and he fears the same will happen to him.

Director:

John Mackenzie

Writers:

Simon Raven (screenplay), Giles Cooper (play)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
David Hemmings ... John Ebony
Douglas Wilmer ... Headmaster
Tony Haygarth ... Cary Farthingale (as Anthony Haygarth)
Carolyn Seymour ... Silvia Ebony
Hamilton Dyce Hamilton Dyce ... Mr. Winstanley
Barbara Lott Barbara Lott ... Mrs. Winstanley
Donald Gee Donald Gee ... Stretton
David Jackson David Jackson ... Clackworth
Hubert Rees Hubert Rees ... Blisterine
David Auker ... Aggeridge
Tom Morris Tom Morris ... Ankerton
Richard Gill Richard Gill ... Borby
Michael Kitchen ... Bungabine
Nicholas Hoye Nicholas Hoye ... Cloistermouth
Tom Owen ... Cuthbun
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Storyline

A new school teacher learns that the previous teacher was killed by his pupils, and he fears the same will happen to him.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

if you're curious about terror ...

Genres:

Action | Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

GP | See all certifications »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

David MacGill (now 67) had a speaking part in this movie which was later cut due to creative differences with the director. See more »

Quotes

[John Ebony's first day teaching. The students are taking turns reading from a history book]
Wittering: [faintly] hypotenuse... hypotenuse... hypotenuse
John Ebony: Who's that muttering?
Wittering: Me, sir.
Lipstrob: He can't help it, sir.
Cuthbun: He says 'hypotenuse' all the time, sir.
Ankerton: He likes the word.
Aggeridge: Mr. Pelham said he was 'hypotenus-ed' by it, sir!
[general laughter]
John Ebony: Stop it! Very well, you've had ample warning. This form will kept in on Saturday afternoon from 2:30.
[...]
See more »

Crazy Credits

In the closing credits, when the names of actors playing the schoolboys appear they are listed in alphabetical order according to the character's surname. This is so as to resemble the class's register. The character of 'Zigo' appears at the very end but as he never appears in the film, instead of an actor being credited, it merely says "Zigo....Absent". See more »

Connections

Version of Theatre 625: Unman, Wittering and Zigo (1965) See more »

Soundtracks

God Be In My Head
(uncredited)
Music by H. Walford Davies
See more »

User Reviews

 
Chilly and Disturbing
11 September 2006 | by robertconnorSee all my reviews

When a school teacher dies in an accident, his replacement quickly begins to suspect his students of murder.

Using its theatrical origins to claustrophobic effect, Unman, Wittering and Zigo very cleverly builds up layer upon layer of tension and menace, as Hemming's naive and idealistic Mr. Ebony is quickly and easily outclassed by his pupils, seemingly at every turn. Dismissed by his headmaster, and humoured by both his wife and a fellow teacher, Ebony is slowly ground into submission by the boys as they repeatedly claim to have killed his predecessor. However, when the boys attempt an assault on his wife as a way of further controlling Ebony, the web they have spun begins to unravel until eventually another tragedy forces out the truth.

Chilly and chilling, Mackenzie is well-served by his actors, both adult and juvenile. Hemmings captures just the right note of bewilderment and impotence, whilst Seymour turns the potentially thankless role of Mrs. Ebony into a striking portrait of independence, determination and naturalism - her performance during the attempted assault by the boys is quite brilliant. Standout amongst the boys are Hoye, Owen and Cashman, all conveying stonewall confidence collectively, whilst allowing just the faint trace of fear and uncertainty when separated from their classmates. Unsettling allusions to Ebony's ambivalence and a vaguely sexual response to his ordeal add to the mix, and only a slightly dissatisfying and unbelievable conclusion mar what is otherwise a deeply disturbing, grown up story. Highly recommended, if you can track it down.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

23 September 1971 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Unman, Wittering and Zigo See more »

Filming Locations:

Berkshire, England, UK See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Hemmings, Mediarts See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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