Thomas Hughes' novel of life in a boys' boarding school comes boldly to life on the screen.  At the age of eleven Tom Brown is sent off to Rugby where, as his father tells him, he likely will, "see a great many blackguard things."  He does indeed.

Young Tom receives a good deal of hazing from his classmates, but he takes it all in stride until he runs afoul of the school bully, the sadistic Flashman.  A more despicable villain doesn't exist in English literature - or in English movies, for that matter.  Tom learns the hard way that rebelling against Flashman carries a painful penalty.

Robert Newton plays Mr. Arnold, the school's reform-minded headmaster.  He seeks to eliminate the school's venerable "traditions" of intimidation and torture, but he knows that he must proceed quietly and with great caution.  It is a moving performance, one in which Newton shows us what a fine actor he was.  He tries to convey to Tom that he is helpless against rogues like Flashman unless his victims will identify him.  But Tom, though repeatedly tormented by Flashman, refuses to be an informer.  It is only through a series of coincidental events that Flashman receives his comeuppance.

The film's exteriors where shot on location at Rugby, giving the picture its strong flavor of authenticity.  So join Tom and his friends in their adventures at Rugby.  You'll find Tom Brown's Schooldays an experience you won't soon forget.

Starring: John Howard Davies, John Charlesworth, Robert Newton, John Forrest.
This film was produced by Brian and directed by Gordon Parry

Courtesy of the BFI