Monday, 8 September 2014

The Teacher (1974)

The IMDB bio for Angel Tompkins makes a comparison between the launch of her career and that of Bo Derek approximately a decade later.  Both made a splash as 'the other woman' in a comedy film.  Interestingly, though it talks about Tompkins' later films, the bio fails to draw the parallel between the rest of the two women's careers.  Like Derek, Tompkins ended up working in movies where the film makers were more interested in her physical attributes, and willingness to show them, than in her acting abilities.

Which is something of a shame in Tompkins case, because she's actually been pretty good in the two films I've now seen here in - certainly better than Derek.

This outing begins with not one but three men ogling a topless Tompkins through binoculars.  One of these future sex offenders ends up dead as the result of a squabble between the three.  I shed no tears over that, I have to say.

One of the survivors is the dead guy's nutty brother, while the last is the dead guy's best friend, and a former student of Tompkins's character.  He's going to be her love interest in the film.  That's a bit icky, given what he was just doing, but for the most part the romance between the two characters (who are 10 years different in age) is quite well done.  Tompkins comes off as a little predatory early on, as she is definitely the one who pushes for the relationship, but once they're together they make a pretty nice couple.

There's much scandal over the relationship, of course, though in an interesting change from the norm the mother of the young man is one of its main defenders. "Sean needs a good woman." she opines.

Alas, crazy other guy is out there, lurking with a knife and blaming Sean for his brother's death.  Sean, who lied to the police about what happened when his friend died, feels that he can't now admit what really happened (the death was an accident, but he might not be believed).  Will crazy guy kill one or both of the lovers?  Well, you'd have to watch the movie to find out.

Should you watch the movie?  Eh, probably not.  It's got solid performances in the central roles, but the script's got some rather silly moments in it.  Also the soundtrack makes some very poor choices, which really undercut several dramatic or theoretically exciting scenes.  There are better thrillers out there, so unless seeing Angel Tompkins (admittedly lovely) body is enough to sell you on the film, you can skip it.

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