Unman, Wittering and Zigo

1971

Drama / Thriller

5
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Rotten 40% · 5 reviews
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 82%
IMDb Rating 7.1/10 10 741 741

Director

Top cast

David Hemmings as John Ebony
Tom Owen as Cuthbun
Michael Kitchen as Bungabine
Carolyn Seymour as Silvia Ebony
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
934.95 MB
1280*690
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
1 hr 41 min
Seeds 3
1.7 GB
1920*1036
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
1 hr 41 min
Seeds 23

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Coventry 8 / 10

And that's why we killed him, Sir.

"Unman, Wittering and Zigo" is a thoroughly peculiar and strangely uncanny gem from the early 70's Brit-movie industry; an era where lots of long-lost forgotten movie classics are still waiting to be re- discovered by cult fanatics. The film lacks explicit bloodshed or exciting actions stunts, but it thrives on ominous atmosphere, a solid and complex screenplay and impeccable acting performances. David Hemmings, perhaps the most shamefully underrated actor/director to come out of Great Britain, stars as a young and still ambitious teacher who enrolls in a strictly catholic male boarding school in the remote British countryside. He takes over class Lower 5-B since their previous teacher died in a most unfortunate accident when he fell off a cliff. When trying to bring some order and discipline amongst the rebellious young men and threatening to give them Saturday afternoon detention, one of his pupils suddenly states: "our previous teacher also wanted to that … and that's why we killed him, Sir". From that moment onwards, the students are provide more and accurate proof that they, in fact, did kill their previous teacher and scare Mr. Ebony into believing that the same might overcome him or his lovely wife Sylvia. Obviously no one believes him – not even his wife – and the pupils continue to push further their blackmail and menacing. "Unman, Wittering and Zigo" (the title refers to the last three names on the alphabetic list that Mr. Ebony runs through to see who's present in class) is a slow-brooding chiller with an immense claustrophobic power. By this I mean that director John MacKenzie manages to make it so obvious that nobody in John Ebony's immediate surrounding even suspects the pupils of anything, whereas he finds himself trapped in a isolated situation of fear from which he cannot escape. To everyone else, the pupils of class Lower 5-B are sophisticated and well-mannered young men and only their teacher knows that they're actually deeply disturbed and nihilistic psychopaths. There are a handful of truly powerful and perturbing sequences, including near the end with John's wife trapped in the school's gym, as well as a terrific use of the contemporary British life-styles and the remote setting. Unfortunately, the film also contains a few defaults, like a largely unsatisfying climax and some dead-end plot lines, but overall I would definitely say this is a gem well worth seeking out and treasuring.

Reviewed by robertconnor 8 / 10

Chilly and Disturbing

When a school teacher dies in an accident, his replacement quickly begins to suspect his students of murder.

Using its theatrical origins to claustrophobic effect, Unman, Wittering and Zigo very cleverly builds up layer upon layer of tension and menace, as Hemming's naive and idealistic Mr. Ebony is quickly and easily outclassed by his pupils, seemingly at every turn. Dismissed by his headmaster, and humoured by both his wife and a fellow teacher, Ebony is slowly ground into submission by the boys as they repeatedly claim to have killed his predecessor. However, when the boys attempt an assault on his wife as a way of further controlling Ebony, the web they have spun begins to unravel until eventually another tragedy forces out the truth.

Chilly and chilling, Mackenzie is well-served by his actors, both adult and juvenile. Hemmings captures just the right note of bewilderment and impotence, whilst Seymour turns the potentially thankless role of Mrs. Ebony into a striking portrait of independence, determination and naturalism - her performance during the attempted assault by the boys is quite brilliant. Standout amongst the boys are Hoye, Owen and Cashman, all conveying stonewall confidence collectively, whilst allowing just the faint trace of fear and uncertainty when separated from their classmates. Unsettling allusions to Ebony's ambivalence and a vaguely sexual response to his ordeal add to the mix, and only a slightly dissatisfying and unbelievable conclusion mar what is otherwise a deeply disturbing, grown up story. Highly recommended, if you can track it down.

Reviewed by The_Void 8 / 10

Strange but great little oddity

Unman, Wittering and Zigo is largely unknown little film, and that isn't really surprising considering that it's really rather odd. It's not a bad film, however, and certainly is ripe for rediscovery. The film is along the same lines as Lindsay Anderson's 1968 masterpiece "If..." as it focuses on a rebellious group of boys at a posh school. The film is based on a play by Giles Cooper and that is always evident as we focus on just a handful of small locations and everything is centred on the main plot line. We focus on John Ebony, a young and idealistic teacher who takes a job an English school and is put in charge of a class of boys, leaving his wife at home in the cottage provided for them. He is given the job because of a tragic accident which resulted in the previous teacher of the class falling off a cliff to his death. It's not long before it becomes apparent that the class is not made up of 'normal' boys, and this becomes even more the case when the new teacher is told by the boys that they murdered the old one! John soon starts to fear for his life...

The best thing about this film is the way it's plotted. We are given the mystery on a plate at the start of the film and the rest of it focuses on working out whether or not what the boys told their teacher is true. Director John Mackenzie skilfully handles the main plot theme and Unman, Wittering and Zigo becomes more thrilling with every turn. The plot is relaxed in the way that it plays out, but the director keeps things interesting by ensuring that the mystery is always intriguing and the tension just bubbles beneath the surface. The film benefits from an excellent ensemble cast which is lead by the great David Hemmings who is backed up by a good cast of youngsters. The atmosphere in this film is great and is partly created by the way that the boys interact with one another. One of the most striking things about this film is the way that they talk in unison and that in itself helps to build up a feeling of dread emanating from how it shows us what the central character is up against. Overall, Unman, Wittering and Zigo may be slightly lacking in some areas (the ending is not particularly strong and the story sometimes lacks direction) but these are not big faults in what is otherwise an excellent slice of cult cinema!

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