Movie Fact #203 - May 13th, 2021

 

It's amazing how often filmmakers have to fight for the more subtle tones of their films against studio demands for something more provocative or eye-catching. One such example is the 1967 film To Sir, with Love, based on E. R. Braithwaite's 1959 autobiographical novel of the same name. While actor Sidney Poitier and director James Clavell both wanted to do the film, Columbia Pictures was reluctant. They agreed to make the film for small fees, provided Poitier got 10% of the gross and Clavell 30% of the profits. However, as Poitier's agent Martin Baum recalls, "When we were ready to shoot, Columbia wanted either a rape or a big fight put in. We held out, saying this was a gentle story, and we won." In other words, Columbia wanted a more vicious interpretation of the inner city school the film took place in. However, that just wasn't the kind of film To Sir, with Love was. I mean...just look at the title! Stay tuned!

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