6.0/10
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13 user 30 critic

Child's Play (1972)

At an exclusive boys' school, a new gym teacher is drawn into a feud between two older instructors, and he discovers that everything at the school is not quite as staid, tranquil and harmless as it seems.

Director:

Sidney Lumet

Writers:

Leon Prochnik (screenplay by), Robert Marasco (based on the Broadway play by)
Reviews
1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
James Mason ... Jerome Malley
Robert Preston ... Joseph Dobbs
Beau Bridges ... Paul Reis
Ron Weyand Ron Weyand ... Father Mozian (as Ronald Weyand)
Charles White ... Father Griffin
David Rounds David Rounds ... Father Penny
Kate Harrington Kate Harrington ... Mrs. Carter
Paul Alessi ... Student
Jamie Alexander Jamie Alexander ... Sheppard
Anthony Barletta Anthony Barletta ... Student
Brian Chapin Brian Chapin ... O'Donnell
Kevin Coupe Kevin Coupe ... Student
Bryant Fraser Bryant Fraser ... Jennings
Mark Hall Haefeli Mark Hall Haefeli ... Wilson
Christopher Hoag Christopher Hoag ... Student
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Storyline

Paul Reis returns to the exclusive Catholic prep school he graduated from nine years earlier as a gym teacher. He is reunited with his former mentor and English teacher, the affable and gregarious Joseph Dobbs, the most popular member of the faculty and advisor to the junior class, and Jerome Malley, a strict disciplinarian and teacher of classical languages, whose old-fashioned methods make him heartily disliked by his pupils. Reis finds himself caught in between the two men in a struggle for the hearts, minds, and souls of the boys. Malley, nicknamed "Lash" by his students has ruled out retirement, and Dobbs, who feels that Malley has lost touch with the students, hopes to inherit the senior class. Even though Malley's mother is dying an agonizing death from cancer, the Latin and Greek teacher refuses to surrender his position as head of the senior class to a man whose motives he questions. The tensions on the faculty are mirrored in the student body, which has endured a rash of ... Written by duke1029@aol.com

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

You only lose once.


Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Pat Hingle, Fritz Weaver and Ken Howard played the Preston, Mason, and Bridges roles on Broadway. Both Weaver and Howard won Tonysfor their work. David Rounds recreated his role from the Broadway production. The play ran 342 performances. See more »

Quotes

Jerome Malley: [to Dobbs in chapel] I wouldn't expect the truth from you, Dobbs, even in here.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in By Sidney Lumet (2015) See more »

User Reviews

 
Grueling actors' piece
30 October 2017 | by moonspinner55See all my reviews

Idealistic new gym teacher at an all-boys Catholic boarding school, his alma mater after graduating there nine years ago, is warned by one of the priests on arrival that the students have changed over time, their attitudes towards each other have become malicious and their violent actions touched by evil. Overcooked melodrama from Robert Marasco's Tony-winning play is, at its core, a battle of wills between two veteran instructors: one, a sagging-faced, paranoid old taskmaster (James Mason) whom the students deplore and the other (Robert Preston) a gregarious, glinty-eyed teacher who has rallied the students to his side. When these men face-off, the material hints at something headier than what director Sidney Lumet and screenwriter Leon Prochnik really hope to present: the dehumanization of young men into soldiers of misfortune. Broadway showman David Merrick made an inauspicious debut here as movie producer, and his first mistake was to hire Lumet as director. Lumet, who specializes in his keeping his actors riled-up on-screen, wants to give us the shakes with bloody beatings, an eye-gouging and a desecration in the church (underlined by Michael Small's "scare music"), scenes which are nasty and unpleasant to sit through--and also time-consuming. The real drama, between Mason and Preston (with Beau Bridges caught in the middle), is nearly buried under the morass. Though ultimately too theatrical to feel honest, the performances by the principals are at least polished by the actors' professionalism, bringing substance to a picture caught in the balance between melodrama and its own horror-movie subtext. *1/2 from ****


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

1 June 1973 (Ireland) See more »

Also Known As:

Den dödliga leken See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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