Cinema: The Winslow Boy

Directed by David Mamet

In 1908 a Naval College cadet, 13, was dismissed on the charge of stealing a five-shilling postal order. His father's legal challenge to the Admiralty made the case a celebrated one. Terence Rattigan's 1946 play ignored the element of religious prejudice (the boy was Catholic) but mined the domestic, romantic and political realms to create a superior, stiff-upper-lip weepie. The surprise is it still works, in this beautifully judged film with Nigel Hawthorne as the righteous father and Jeremy Northam (an Olivier incarnate) as the famous barrister who takes the case. Have a good thought and a quiet cry for dear...

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