The Teacher


1h 38m 1974

Brief Synopsis

18-year-old Sean's first summer after completing high school is much spent with 28-year-old teacher Diane, who's husband is too often motorcycle-racing instead of with her. Wacko Ralph also has "the hots" for Diane; and it doesn't help that Sean was with Ralph's younger brother, Lou, when Lou died.

Film Details

Also Known As
Teacher
MPAA Rating
Genre
Action
Drama
Release Date
1974

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 38m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color

Synopsis

When a young man and his teacher get romantically involved, they are harassed by a psychotic killer.

Film Details

Also Known As
Teacher
MPAA Rating
Genre
Action
Drama
Release Date
1974

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 38m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color

Articles

The Teacher/Pickup - Drive-In Flashback - THE TEACHER & PICK-UP from Crown International on DVD


Before Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriquez's Grindhouse (2007), a two-headed, 3-hour, 11-minute homage to 70s exploitation cinema, went belly up at the box office last spring (proving that, no matter how much contemporary audiences may enjoy the odd cinematic flourish from the disco era, the train on recreating the experience in toto has definitely left the station), a number of DVD labels jumped on the bandwagon, scooping up drive-in classics and fleapit perennials from thirty years past to cash in on the expected boom. This two-fer of "sinful shockers" from BCI Eclipse' "Welcome to the Grindhouse" collection pairs Hikmet "Howard" Avedis' notorious older woman melodrama The Teacher (1974) with the more obscure, Florida-shot head trip movie Pick-up (1975). Distributed by Crown International, both films were misrepresented to their respective audiences via the bait-and-switch of crass advertising catering to the baser instincts of the lowest common denominator. That both films fall short of their promotional agendas does not mean that they are not in their own ways worthwhile, even beyond the glib context of irony.

At the time of its May 1974 release, the lure of The Teacher was the opportunity for moviegoers to see Jay North, former child star of the CBS sitcom Dennis the Menace, all grown up and engaging in sex play with 30-year-old Angel Tompkins, then best known as the consort of A-list actor Elliot Gould. Crown International's posters foregrounded the leggy Tompkins, who was surrounded by a line of varsity hardbodies in an image that all but promised the spectacle of a gang bang. Though Tompkins is frequently nude, the action here is strictly off campus. What's more, North's inexperienced manchild Sean Roberts has, as the story begins, already graduated high school and attained the age of consent, which mitigates any suggestion of an older woman's corruption of innocent youth. Certainly, Mike Nichols' The Graduate (1967) was an influence but writer-director-producer Avedis isn't content with a mere soft core romp and brings to the mix a B-plot about a deranged Vietnam veteran (Anthony James of High Plains Drifter) stalking Tompkins' insatiable Diane Marshall and threatening the life of Sean, whom he blames (unjustly) for the death of his brother.

At the distance of thirty-plus years, The Teacher's sexuality is nothing to get excited about, consisting mostly of breast nudity and giddy-giddy-giddy tickling under the covers. Angel Tompkins is a beguiling performer whose naturally stunning physical presence carries a whiff of ferality (when she smiles, you expect to see fangs) but Jay North is a train wreck as her bargain basement Benjamin Braddock. Playing a character only a few years younger than he was at the time, North turns Sean into a naïf, whose perpetual boyish grin would be better suited on an airport pamphleteer. Meanwhile, Anthony James' creep act is more amusing than unnerving, with Ralph shadowing Diane in a hearse limousine and skulking through the shadows like Cesare in The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari). The Night Stalker's Barry Atwater shows up to no great effect as the local sheriff and for some reason the mothers of John Cassavetes and Gena Rowlands contribute a shared cameo as gossipy pensioners. The Teacher is more interesting in the character of Sean's preternaturally chipper mother Alice (Marlene Schmidt, aka Mrs. Hikmet Avedis). Boasting of her son's attractiveness, Alice hosts poolside coffee and doughnut get-togethers for single female teachers (two of whom seem, oddly enough, to be in a butch/femme lesbian relationship) ostensibly for the purpose of hooking Sean up with an experienced older woman but possibly as a way for her to vicariously experience the pleasure of deflowering her own son. The layering of Avedis' inane dialogue on top of this subtext makes The Teacher (at times) positively mesmerizing.

Shot by Alfred Taylor (Spider Baby), The Teacher looks very good in this letterboxed (1.78:1) non-anamorphic presentation, purportedly derived from original materials. (BCI had originally announced these titles as being anamorphically-enhanced, but eleventh hour conversion issues in the mastering process resulted in this 4:3 transfer.) The overall color palette is somewhat muted but, when used, primary colors (Ralph's yellow windbreaker, Mom Roberts' two-piece, Diane's blue pantsuit) do pop. There are no chapter listings nor any onscreen menus but the feature has been encoded with 16 chapters.

A wrongheaded mélange of styles, at least The Teacher kept its feet (all three of them) firmly planted in established genres. Who knows where Pick-up (1975) came from. Back in the day, this would have been called a "head film" and the sobriquet still applies. Seemingly influenced by equal parts of Easy Rider (1969), The Hitchhikers (1972) and Race With the Devil (1975), this "bad trip" begins with a pair of comely Californians (Jill Senter and Gini Eastwood) hitching a ride with affable meathead Chuck (Alan Long), who is piloting a tour bus to Tallahassee, Florida. Pointed into the galloping Hurricane Eloise (which hit the Florida panhandle in September of 1975), Chuck and the girls are detoured off the main highway onto a lonely stretch of country road abutting a foreboding swamp. Mired in the mud, the three kick back to do their own thing. While the astrology-guided Maureen reads the Tarot, Chuck and Carol go native, interacting with nature and making love in the tall grass. All three experience flash forwards to uncertain events and flackbacks to their pasts as sensitive, yearning teenagers. While Chuck's boss (Tom Quinn) places irate calls to the bus' mobile phone, Maureen has something like a mystical experience and mutilates herself... at which point things really get weird.

Oh, how drive-in patrons must have honked at this one. Sold as another raped innocence exploiter (the posters boasted "the longest ride of her life"), Pick-up is neither-fish-nor-fowl, with an inconclusive copout climax suggesting everything we've seen is either a dream or precognition. While there is abundant nudity from both actresses, the lovin' is limited to nudist loop cavorting on the part of Chuck and Carol and a bizarre celestial rape for Maureen in the style of Mia Farrow's Rosemary's Baby (1967) impregnation. As derivative and vague-as-Hell as Pick-up proves to be, there's something to its travelogue longueurs and spooky non sequiturs, including a pre-Pennywise evil clown (complete with free-floating balloons as an augury of doom) and the distinctive voice of Dark Shadows' Grayson Hall whispering supernatural nothings to the impressionable Maureen. Hall's participation isn't quite as incongruous as it may seem. Pick-up director Bernard Hirschenson was director of photography for Jerald Intrator's Satan in High Heels (1962), which featured Hall in a prominent role. (Hirschenson was also a cameraman on the set of Frank Perry's David and Lisa, which made use of nightmarish expressionism.) An onscreen credit for New York soundman Lee Bost (Shaft) suggests that Hall's participation came in after the materials were turned over to the distributor.

Shot by its director, Pick-up looks remarkably fine. The non-anamorphic 1.78:1 image is sharp and richly chromatic – it's doubtful the film ever looked this good at the drive-in. Sound is another issue but the problem rests with the original materials. The effects and music track is dialed up much higher than the dialogue, making most conversations maddeningly dim and all but indecipherable. Luckily, the focus is on visuals rather than talk. As with The Teacher, there is no scene selection menu but the feature is encoded with 20 chapter stops. There are no extras as such but viewers have the option of watching each feature separately or as part of "The Grindhouse Experience," a double feature broken up by trailers for other BCI product (The Hellcats, The Pom-Pom Girls, the Tom Laughlin-directed Weekend with the Babysitter, Van Nuys Blvd. and The Wild Riders) and some of those cool swirl-o-delic Coming Attractions bumpers from the 1970s. (Oddly, an intermission card bears a proprietary watermark for competitors Something Weird Video.) BCI has assembled a nice package for their second "Welcome to the Grindhouse" double feature but as an experience this is nothing Something Weird hasn't done before and with more generous supplements. Still, incentive pricing (online outlets offer the disc for under $10) make this a good value for old school exploitation enthusiasts.

For more information about The Teacher/Pick-up, visit BCI Eclipse.

by Richard Harland Smith
The Teacher/pickup - Drive-In Flashback - The Teacher & Pick-Up From Crown International On Dvd

The Teacher/Pickup - Drive-In Flashback - THE TEACHER & PICK-UP from Crown International on DVD

Before Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriquez's Grindhouse (2007), a two-headed, 3-hour, 11-minute homage to 70s exploitation cinema, went belly up at the box office last spring (proving that, no matter how much contemporary audiences may enjoy the odd cinematic flourish from the disco era, the train on recreating the experience in toto has definitely left the station), a number of DVD labels jumped on the bandwagon, scooping up drive-in classics and fleapit perennials from thirty years past to cash in on the expected boom. This two-fer of "sinful shockers" from BCI Eclipse' "Welcome to the Grindhouse" collection pairs Hikmet "Howard" Avedis' notorious older woman melodrama The Teacher (1974) with the more obscure, Florida-shot head trip movie Pick-up (1975). Distributed by Crown International, both films were misrepresented to their respective audiences via the bait-and-switch of crass advertising catering to the baser instincts of the lowest common denominator. That both films fall short of their promotional agendas does not mean that they are not in their own ways worthwhile, even beyond the glib context of irony. At the time of its May 1974 release, the lure of The Teacher was the opportunity for moviegoers to see Jay North, former child star of the CBS sitcom Dennis the Menace, all grown up and engaging in sex play with 30-year-old Angel Tompkins, then best known as the consort of A-list actor Elliot Gould. Crown International's posters foregrounded the leggy Tompkins, who was surrounded by a line of varsity hardbodies in an image that all but promised the spectacle of a gang bang. Though Tompkins is frequently nude, the action here is strictly off campus. What's more, North's inexperienced manchild Sean Roberts has, as the story begins, already graduated high school and attained the age of consent, which mitigates any suggestion of an older woman's corruption of innocent youth. Certainly, Mike Nichols' The Graduate (1967) was an influence but writer-director-producer Avedis isn't content with a mere soft core romp and brings to the mix a B-plot about a deranged Vietnam veteran (Anthony James of High Plains Drifter) stalking Tompkins' insatiable Diane Marshall and threatening the life of Sean, whom he blames (unjustly) for the death of his brother. At the distance of thirty-plus years, The Teacher's sexuality is nothing to get excited about, consisting mostly of breast nudity and giddy-giddy-giddy tickling under the covers. Angel Tompkins is a beguiling performer whose naturally stunning physical presence carries a whiff of ferality (when she smiles, you expect to see fangs) but Jay North is a train wreck as her bargain basement Benjamin Braddock. Playing a character only a few years younger than he was at the time, North turns Sean into a naïf, whose perpetual boyish grin would be better suited on an airport pamphleteer. Meanwhile, Anthony James' creep act is more amusing than unnerving, with Ralph shadowing Diane in a hearse limousine and skulking through the shadows like Cesare in The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari). The Night Stalker's Barry Atwater shows up to no great effect as the local sheriff and for some reason the mothers of John Cassavetes and Gena Rowlands contribute a shared cameo as gossipy pensioners. The Teacher is more interesting in the character of Sean's preternaturally chipper mother Alice (Marlene Schmidt, aka Mrs. Hikmet Avedis). Boasting of her son's attractiveness, Alice hosts poolside coffee and doughnut get-togethers for single female teachers (two of whom seem, oddly enough, to be in a butch/femme lesbian relationship) ostensibly for the purpose of hooking Sean up with an experienced older woman but possibly as a way for her to vicariously experience the pleasure of deflowering her own son. The layering of Avedis' inane dialogue on top of this subtext makes The Teacher (at times) positively mesmerizing. Shot by Alfred Taylor (Spider Baby), The Teacher looks very good in this letterboxed (1.78:1) non-anamorphic presentation, purportedly derived from original materials. (BCI had originally announced these titles as being anamorphically-enhanced, but eleventh hour conversion issues in the mastering process resulted in this 4:3 transfer.) The overall color palette is somewhat muted but, when used, primary colors (Ralph's yellow windbreaker, Mom Roberts' two-piece, Diane's blue pantsuit) do pop. There are no chapter listings nor any onscreen menus but the feature has been encoded with 16 chapters. A wrongheaded mélange of styles, at least The Teacher kept its feet (all three of them) firmly planted in established genres. Who knows where Pick-up (1975) came from. Back in the day, this would have been called a "head film" and the sobriquet still applies. Seemingly influenced by equal parts of Easy Rider (1969), The Hitchhikers (1972) and Race With the Devil (1975), this "bad trip" begins with a pair of comely Californians (Jill Senter and Gini Eastwood) hitching a ride with affable meathead Chuck (Alan Long), who is piloting a tour bus to Tallahassee, Florida. Pointed into the galloping Hurricane Eloise (which hit the Florida panhandle in September of 1975), Chuck and the girls are detoured off the main highway onto a lonely stretch of country road abutting a foreboding swamp. Mired in the mud, the three kick back to do their own thing. While the astrology-guided Maureen reads the Tarot, Chuck and Carol go native, interacting with nature and making love in the tall grass. All three experience flash forwards to uncertain events and flackbacks to their pasts as sensitive, yearning teenagers. While Chuck's boss (Tom Quinn) places irate calls to the bus' mobile phone, Maureen has something like a mystical experience and mutilates herself... at which point things really get weird. Oh, how drive-in patrons must have honked at this one. Sold as another raped innocence exploiter (the posters boasted "the longest ride of her life"), Pick-up is neither-fish-nor-fowl, with an inconclusive copout climax suggesting everything we've seen is either a dream or precognition. While there is abundant nudity from both actresses, the lovin' is limited to nudist loop cavorting on the part of Chuck and Carol and a bizarre celestial rape for Maureen in the style of Mia Farrow's Rosemary's Baby (1967) impregnation. As derivative and vague-as-Hell as Pick-up proves to be, there's something to its travelogue longueurs and spooky non sequiturs, including a pre-Pennywise evil clown (complete with free-floating balloons as an augury of doom) and the distinctive voice of Dark Shadows' Grayson Hall whispering supernatural nothings to the impressionable Maureen. Hall's participation isn't quite as incongruous as it may seem. Pick-up director Bernard Hirschenson was director of photography for Jerald Intrator's Satan in High Heels (1962), which featured Hall in a prominent role. (Hirschenson was also a cameraman on the set of Frank Perry's David and Lisa, which made use of nightmarish expressionism.) An onscreen credit for New York soundman Lee Bost (Shaft) suggests that Hall's participation came in after the materials were turned over to the distributor. Shot by its director, Pick-up looks remarkably fine. The non-anamorphic 1.78:1 image is sharp and richly chromatic – it's doubtful the film ever looked this good at the drive-in. Sound is another issue but the problem rests with the original materials. The effects and music track is dialed up much higher than the dialogue, making most conversations maddeningly dim and all but indecipherable. Luckily, the focus is on visuals rather than talk. As with The Teacher, there is no scene selection menu but the feature is encoded with 20 chapter stops. There are no extras as such but viewers have the option of watching each feature separately or as part of "The Grindhouse Experience," a double feature broken up by trailers for other BCI product (The Hellcats, The Pom-Pom Girls, the Tom Laughlin-directed Weekend with the Babysitter, Van Nuys Blvd. and The Wild Riders) and some of those cool swirl-o-delic Coming Attractions bumpers from the 1970s. (Oddly, an intermission card bears a proprietary watermark for competitors Something Weird Video.) BCI has assembled a nice package for their second "Welcome to the Grindhouse" double feature but as an experience this is nothing Something Weird hasn't done before and with more generous supplements. Still, incentive pricing (online outlets offer the disc for under $10) make this a good value for old school exploitation enthusiasts. For more information about The Teacher/Pick-up, visit BCI Eclipse. by Richard Harland Smith

Quotes

Trivia

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States 1974

Released in United States 1974