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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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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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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 »

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User Reviews

 
Strange but great little oddity
4 March 2008 | by The_VoidSee all my reviews

Unman, Wittering and Zigo is largely unknown little film, and that isn't really surprising considering that it's really rather odd. It's not a bad film, however, and certainly is ripe for rediscovery. The film is along the same lines as Lindsay Anderson's 1968 masterpiece "If..." as it focuses on a rebellious group of boys at a posh school. The film is based on a play by Giles Cooper and that is always evident as we focus on just a handful of small locations and everything is centred on the main plot line. We focus on John Ebony, a young and idealistic teacher who takes a job an English school and is put in charge of a class of boys, leaving his wife at home in the cottage provided for them. He is given the job because of a tragic accident which resulted in the previous teacher of the class falling off a cliff to his death. It's not long before it becomes apparent that the class is not made up of 'normal' boys, and this becomes even more the case when the new teacher is told by the boys that they murdered the old one! John soon starts to fear for his life...

The best thing about this film is the way it's plotted. We are given the mystery on a plate at the start of the film and the rest of it focuses on working out whether or not what the boys told their teacher is true. Director John Mackenzie skilfully handles the main plot theme and Unman, Wittering and Zigo becomes more thrilling with every turn. The plot is relaxed in the way that it plays out, but the director keeps things interesting by ensuring that the mystery is always intriguing and the tension just bubbles beneath the surface. The film benefits from an excellent ensemble cast which is lead by the great David Hemmings who is backed up by a good cast of youngsters. The atmosphere in this film is great and is partly created by the way that the boys interact with one another. One of the most striking things about this film is the way that they talk in unison and that in itself helps to build up a feeling of dread emanating from how it shows us what the central character is up against. Overall, Unman, Wittering and Zigo may be slightly lacking in some areas (the ending is not particularly strong and the story sometimes lacks direction) but these are not big faults in what is otherwise an excellent slice of cult cinema!


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