There’s always a problem when different cultures aligned with ignorance clash. Yet, in “To Sir with Love” common sense wins over cultural and racial differences to bring about growth to a class of graduating seniors originally thought to be failures.
Sidney Poitier has always been the epitome of what most considered ‘Great actors.’ “To Sir with Love” was defined as a masterpiece. When compared against similar films, it rose to the top. As one of his defining roles, Sidney Poitier made history when playing Mark Thackeray in “To Sir with Love.” He later went on to star in “Guess Whose Coming to Dinner.” His career spanned decades. When the name “Poitier” was mentioned, a certain respect was demanded. Many have tried to follow in the footsteps, some almost reaching similar heights, but few matching it.
In “To Sir with Love,” aspiring engineer Mark Thackeray accepts a teaching position while waiting for the engineer position desired to be offered. Not aware of the challenge he is about to undertake, he heads to London to teach a class of undisciplined and highly aggressive students in one of the worst areas of town. Not only is he in for a culture clash but also race factors in as Mark is African American while the majority of his students are Caucasian.
Quietly observing the way the students interact with each other, and try to control him, Mark begins to gradually change the environment by demanding respect, discipline and growth. When he walks in one day to an offensive odor and finds a sanitary napkin burning in the waste paper basket, he explodes. His demeanor is one of such power, he immediately obtains obedience, discipline, order and the respect of the students not only for himself but for each other. Gradually Mark has the control desired and has earned the respect of his students.
“To Sir With Love” was released during a time when racial tension was high in America. In spite of the turmoil, it won recognition as one of the best movies released from both races. LuLu recorded the title song in the movie under her name through Epic.
Sidney Poitier – Mark Thackeray
Judy Geeson – Pamela Dare
Ann Bell – Mrs. Dare
LuLu – Barbara ‘Babs’ Pegg