Between Anthony Page and playwright Anthony Shaffer, we can forgive this movie for feeling like more of a stage play in parts, but man, the end sure is tense and dark and I was kind of shocked by it because what’s this doing on a Mill Creek fifty pack. I realize that statement is ridiculous because just about anything can be on a Mill Creek fifty pack.
Father Goddard’s (Richrad Burton) favorite student at the all boys’ school is Benjamin Stanfield while he despises the boy’s friend Arthur Dyson and has even less use for the bum they’re friends with in the woods, Blakey, who is played by a very young Billy Connolly.
The biggest mistake the priest makes is to tell his students that he can’t tell the police anything that he is told under the seal of confession, which starts a series of pranks that Stanfield plays on his mentor. Or does he? The film plays fast and loose with how we see things — a Catholic giallo with no women? — and there was a lot of argument between the creatives of how much they wanted to tip their hand and how they wanted to handle the final reveal.
Producer Elliott Kastner was made aware of the script by Richard Burton, who had apparently waited several years to play the lead. He even turned down the opportunity to play King Lear on stage to be in this movie. Michael Caine and Christopher Lee had both been considered for the part.