6.0/10
843
13 user 30 critic

Child's Play (1972)

At an exclusive boys' school, a new gym teacher is drawn into a feud between two older instructors, and he discovers that everything at the school is not quite as staid, tranquil and harmless as it seems.

Director:

Sidney Lumet

Writers:

Leon Prochnik (screenplay by), Robert Marasco (based on the Broadway play by)
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1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
James Mason ... Jerome Malley
Robert Preston ... Joseph Dobbs
Beau Bridges ... Paul Reis
Ron Weyand Ron Weyand ... Father Mozian (as Ronald Weyand)
Charles White ... Father Griffin
David Rounds David Rounds ... Father Penny
Kate Harrington Kate Harrington ... Mrs. Carter
Paul Alessi ... Student
Jamie Alexander Jamie Alexander ... Sheppard
Anthony Barletta Anthony Barletta ... Student
Brian Chapin Brian Chapin ... O'Donnell
Kevin Coupe Kevin Coupe ... Student
Bryant Fraser Bryant Fraser ... Jennings
Mark Hall Haefeli Mark Hall Haefeli ... Wilson
Christopher Hoag Christopher Hoag ... Student
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Storyline

Paul Reis returns to the exclusive Catholic prep school he graduated from nine years earlier as a gym teacher. He is reunited with his former mentor and English teacher, the affable and gregarious Joseph Dobbs, the most popular member of the faculty and advisor to the junior class, and Jerome Malley, a strict disciplinarian and teacher of classical languages, whose old-fashioned methods make him heartily disliked by his pupils. Reis finds himself caught in between the two men in a struggle for the hearts, minds, and souls of the boys. Malley, nicknamed "Lash" by his students has ruled out retirement, and Dobbs, who feels that Malley has lost touch with the students, hopes to inherit the senior class. Even though Malley's mother is dying an agonizing death from cancer, the Latin and Greek teacher refuses to surrender his position as head of the senior class to a man whose motives he questions. The tensions on the faculty are mirrored in the student body, which has endured a rash of ... Written by duke1029@aol.com

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

You only lose once.


Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

1 June 1973 (Ireland) See more »

Also Known As:

Den dödliga leken See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Marlon Brando originally signed for the role of Joseph Dobbs (Robert Preston), but quit the production before principal photography commenced. According to Bob Thomas's "Brando: Portrait of the Artist as a Rebel", Brando quit the production when he realized that James Mason had the better role, and that his flagging career would soon be revitalized by the The Godfather (1972). Preston, a fine actor, received poor reviews for his performance from Pauline Kael, among others. Brando subsequently was sued by producer David Merrick. See more »

Quotes

Father Penny: [Slightly drunk] I don't know if you've noticed. There is the decided smell of brimstone in the air. This may have been the wrong way for me, but I believe in God, and I believe in Satan.
[He drinks and sets his glass down uneasily, only to have it fall]
Father Penny: Now I believe I will go get another drink.
[He walks tipsily out of the room]
See more »

Connections

Referenced in By Sidney Lumet (2015) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Not that bad!
2 July 2007 | by annalbin-1See all my reviews

Chances are you will never have an opportunity to see this film as it hasn't been on TV for ages. However, I wouldn't say it is as bad as some of the comments. I thought it was well acted, but the ending left the viewer confused about exactly what had happened with the boys. The fates of two of the three major characters are also left to the viewer's imagination. Robert Preston and James Mason made interesting foils. Mason managed to make his character a man to be despised and pitied. Preston was also quite capable in his role - all sweetness and light with increasingly malevolent undertones.

If it had been as dull as described in some of the other comments, I probably wouldn't have been able to stay awake since I watched it in the wee hours of the AM.


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