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Unman, Wittering and Zigo

September 5th 2006 09:18
Unman, Wittering and Zigo (1971)


This is a film that seems to be very much under the radar.

One late night, when I was probably on the dole and living off microwaved chips (now I have a job and live off microwaved chips), I was flicking through the channels and I came across this early 70s British film. It hooked me right in... it was about this teacher (played by David Hemmings before he went to seed) at an all-boys school who is told on his first day by his students that he had best let them do whatever they like or that he will wind up dead like his predecessor.

The rest of the film follows a very creepy and downright scary cat-and-mouse game between the teacher and the students... they prove to him that they aren't lying, he tries to resist giving in to their disturbing tactics, they try to involve his wife, etc, etc.

If you do manage to find this (and I haven't been able to, so I don't hold out too much hope for you) make sure you watch it right up to the very, very end (yes, I mean the credits too!) because the end is quite shocking and it really made an impact on me when I first saw it about four years ago. It still remains with me today as one of the most truly frightening psychological horror films I've ever seen, and the credits add to this. It's a very well-written and acted film too. I think it might be based on a play.

I've never seen another film like it.
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6 Comments. [ Add A Comment ]

Comment by JohnDoe

September 5th 2006 10:31
A truly unique masterpiece thats near impossible to get. I had a similar experience with this film. Saw it late at night when I was a teen, took me years to findout what it was Id seen because I tuned in 10 minutes after it started.

Now you have reminded me of it, I really, really, really want to see it again. Hope its on DVd somewhere.

Comment by Luke

September 5th 2006 12:32
once again JohnDoe, you prove to be a walking human film library. I thought I might stump you with this one but nope - you've seen it. You've seen everything!

Comment by JohnDoe

September 5th 2006 13:26
I havent seen Sex Boat!

John McKenzie's Unman, Wittering and Zigo is well a truly a rarity, that is seldom discussed, its pure luck I happened to see it myself.

For a similar film, check out Lindsay Anderson's If (1968) starring Malcolm McDowell.

Though admittedly less tension also check out Richard Brooks' film The BlackBoard Jungle starring the recently departed Glen Ford. It's basically the same story with less psychological tension, but a really entertaining film.

Class Of 1984 with Michael J Fox borrows quite heavily from Unman......its more in the realm of trashy fun, but it makes me grin.

Comment by Luke

September 5th 2006 14:20
I've always wanted to see If.

Those other two films... well, I'll have to check them out too!

Comment by Anonymous

February 14th 2007 13:16
well at school i had been studying this play and in the book there is no-one called silvia ebony her name is nadia if you read the play youll see there are a lot of differences between the film and the play

Comment by Anonymous

December 19th 2008 23:09
Fabulous picture.

This is the second filmed version. The B/W one from 1964 (screened 1965 as part of 'Theatre 625' referring to the amount of lines on a UK tv screen) was probably somewhat tamer but based upon the original playwright's script, not the amended screenplay for the Hemmings vehicle.

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