Cinema: A Mouse in a Trap

Term of Trial. All that glitters is not tinsel. On the surface, this film shows a certain cheap flash: it can be seen as a sniggery story about a dirty old man and a hot young thing. But those who dig beneath the surface will find dramatic iron: the story of a man too weak to be really good, of a woman too lazy to be really bad, and of the sad little mess they make of their lives.

The man (portrayed with inexhaustible finesse by Sir Laurence Olivier) is a schoolmaster and a good one as far as he goes: gentle,...

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