This English film made in 1940 is an adaptation from the book by the same name. I imagine that had one read the book some issues, like the nature of Thomas Arnold's "revolutionary" ideas, would be somewhat clearer.
Tom Brown's School Days is the joint story of Thomas Arnold, headmaster of Rugby (a boys school) and Thomas Brown, a student and son of one of the trustee's (at least I think that is what he was); also to a great extent it is the story of another lad, East.
Dr. Arnold's dream is to reform boys schools, he desires to produce a generation of "God-fearing" men (I use quotation marks for that is the langauge of the film). He encourages manliness and honor in his boys. He decries cowardice for what it is. He expells boys for lying--for that is an outworking of cowardice. One of the main things he fights against is the bullying.
Tom is bullied as the "new boy". Tom's bravery in the face of one particular incident inspires the boys of the "Forth Form" (I suppose that is much like a grade), to fight back against the school bully, Flashman, and his special henchmen.
I cannot say much more without spoiling the climax, but I will go so far as to say that Tom is faced with a choice that has the potential to cause him disgrace and/or heartache no matter which choice, the right one or the wrong one, that he ultimately makes.
I found this film to be quite encouraging in it's protrayal of boys as young men--men who cry with a broken heart, rejoice with their friends, have compassion on the downtrodden, and fight bravely against bigger and stronger oppressors. The viewer is left rooting for the boys to be manly, Godly, brave young men. We are disappointed when they fail, but encouraged as they pick themselves up and face forward into the fray again. I'm actually interested in reading the book after watching the film.
I'll admit the title of this 1940 film takes one aback. It is something of an op-ed against some unsupervised (not exactly sure what the director/producer meant by that) "charity" home for single mothers.
The story opens with a young newpaper reporter (Glenn Ford) hearing of the "babies for money" adoption schemes from an old, kind-hearted doctor. He leaves the newspaper over it and starts his own independent research on the issue.
The other half of the story is about a young, pretty widow who goes to a place called Mercy House for help. The scheming doctor and nurse try to coerce her into giving her baby up for adoption, claiming it will be better for both her and the baby. Their real motivation is the money they can get for the child.
The lives of the young widow and her friend, a fellow Mercy House inmate, become entwined with those of the reporter and kind doctor.
There is nothing sexual about this film and the closest one gets to "romance" is the final shot in the film--it's actually quite sweet. The topic addressed is not so much un-wed mothers, but the treatment single mothers (whether un-wed, abandoned wives, or widows) and their children recieved at the hands of profiteering "charity" institutions. How much of the film was based on actual events and facts, I don't know. What I do know is it brought it's point across very clearly without condemning all charity organizations. Just because it's "charity", doesn't mean that it's good. The sale of a child (even if he gets into a good home) is immoral--not because one is getting the child adopted, but because of how it is done.
For a B-movie the story really was pretty good. I found it engaging and while not explicitly Christian, I cannot recall (I watched this last week so please forgive me if I have missed something here) anything that really stuck out to me as bad theology.
A Reformed Presbyterian girl who enjoys a good movie or a good book any ol' time.
Note: All images picked up online. No copyright infringment intended.