Absolution (December 1978)
Released in December 1978: Richard Burton is a professor in a Catholic school for boys in Britain that gets caught up with a crazed killer.
Produced by Elliott Kastner and Danny O'Donovan
Directed by Anthony Page
Written by Anthony Shaffer
The Actors: Richard Burton (Father Goddard), Dominic Guard (Benjamin 'Benjie' Stanfield), David Bradley (Arthur Dyson), Billy Connolly (Blakey), Andrew Keir (headmaster), Willoughby Gray (Brigadier Walsh), Preston Lockwood (Father Hibbert), James Ottaway (Father Matthews), Brook Williams (Father Clarence), Jon Plowman (Father Piers), Robin Soans (Father Henryson), Trevor Martin (MR. Gladstone), Sharon Duce (Louella), Brian Glover (first policeman), Dan Meaden (second policeman), Hilary Mason (Miss Froggatt), Hilda Fenemore (Mrs. Hoskins), Robert Addie (Cawley), Kevin Hart (Peterson), Philip Leake (Gregory), Michael Crompton (O'Dowd), Andrew Boxer (student), Richard Willis (student), Michael Parkhouse (student), Richard Kates (student), Martyn Hesford (student), Clive Gehle (student), Charles Rigby (student), Michael Bell (student), Martin Stringer (student), Francis Fry (student), Julian Firth (student), Tim Short (student), Michael Munn (priest)
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Forgive Me Father . . . I Killed a Man . . .
There have been tens of thousands of really good stories that have been turned into movies since the beginning of motion pictures, and almost all of them are worth watching . . . stories that will make us laugh, cry, think and enjoy. Once in a great while we encounter a movie that is like no other . . . the plot . . . the actors . . . the dialogue . . . the movie begins in a very familiar and pleasant fashion, but then it turns where we cannot believe . . . who has a mind like this, to write such a plot? Where the heck is this story going to end? It is very rare that I will say nothing about the plot of a movie, but this is one of those times. I cannot risk exposing any of the surprise twists that the plot took. I will only tell you who the main characters are. Richard Burton is Father Goddard, a very strict teacher in a British Catholic school for boys. He teaches Latin and is a very strict taskmaster. His world is very orderly, religious and calm . . . every minute of his day is a calm exercise in proper teaching of young boys, trying to help them evolve into good upright men. Dominic Guard is Benjie Stanfield . . . handsome, athletic, and a bit of a smart-ass, everyone likes him, and if Father Goddard has a 'pet' student who he thinks has potential above the rest of the class, it is Benjie. David Bradley is Dyson, Arthur Dyson. He has heavy metal braces cloaking his legs to help him walk . . . he wears thick glasses and is the odd-ball that brings most of us to like him and empathize with his problems, but Father Goddard has little use for a cripple . . . he once even mentions that in ancient times cripples were left to die at birth. Billy Connolly is Blakey, an affable hobo travelling the countryside with his banjo and a love for the freedom that comes with no job, home, friends or future plans. These are the characters, and this is one of the most convoluted, mystifying, amazing murder thrillers that my old eyes have ever witnessed. Warning: a third of the way through the story you will believe that you have it all figured out, but you will probably be wrong . . . half way through the movie you will think that you have the good guys separated from the bad guys but you will probably be wrong . . . five minutes before the end you will know that you finally understand . . . but you may be wrong. Pop a big bowl of white kernel popcorn with plenty of warm melted butter drizzled over it and enjoy the ride.
Richard Burton at the grave site
Andrew Keir and Ricahrd Burton
Billy Connolly and Dominic Guard
David Bradley and Dominic Guard
David Bradley and Richard Burton
David Bradley singing opera for the school play
Dominic Guard as Benjie