Home Movies by Decade Movies - 1960s Spare The Rod (1961)

Spare The Rod (1961)

John Saunders (Max Bygraves) is fresh out of teacher training college when he inherits a class of badly behaved children in their final year in an inner-city East End (London) school.

The other teachers prefer to enforce discipline with the cane, but Saunders doesn’t approve of corporal punishment and has a more ‘progressive’ outlook on teaching.

His liberal attitude cause confusion amongst the kids, who don’t know if it’s a strength or a weakness. He spots particular promise in one of the main trouble-makers Fred Harkness (Richard O’Sullivan) and tries to encourage the boy to explore his potential.

Eventually, Saunders’ convictions are tested, and in a moment of crisis, he strikes out. The school decide to get rid of him and the kids respond with a riot.

Donald Pleasance is excellent as the tyrannical headmaster, Mr Jenkins, and Geoffrey Keen plays sadistic woodwork teacher Arthur Gregory.

Max Bygraves personally funded most of the film as he felt the novel by Michael Croft was good enough to be adapted.

John Saunders
Max Bygraves
Mr Jenkins
Donald Pleasence
Arthur Gregory
Geoffrey Keen
Ann Collins
Betty McDowall
Alec Murray
Peter Reynolds
Mrs Pond
Jean Anderson
Mrs Harkness
Eleanor Summerfield
Miss Fogg
Mary Merrall
Fred Harkness
Richard O’Sullivan
Claire Marshall
Jeremy Bulloch
Gladys Weekes
June Archer
Michael Craze
Mr Richards
Rory MacDermot
Annette Robertson
Mr Bickerstaff
Aubrey Woods
Police Constable
John Tatum

Leslie Norman