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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka "A Touch of Hell" or "Immoral Charge")


directed by Terence Young
UK 1959


An unmarried vicar in a new parish (Quayle) accuses a local 19 year old of being partially responsible for the death of a teenage girl. In defiance, the young man claims the vicar molested him. Out of spite, his story is backed up by a local woman (Churchill) still furious that the vicar rejected her advances. Unfortunately for the vicar, the woman is a highly respected member of the community - her father is the previous clergyman.

Given that this film was released in 1959, its subject matter is pretty ground-breaking, especially for a British film. Yes, the depiction of disaffected youth hanging around coffee bars, breaking into swimming pools and grooving to Cliff Richard's Livin' Doll is a little clumsy (Richard is asked to do little in a secondary role other than sulk or croon), but in an era when folks weren't supposed to know about homosexuality (at least in the movies), this is quite a daring story, and occasionally quite subversive.

Excerpt of review from Robert Connor for located HERE


Theatrical Release: May 1959 (UK)

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DVD Review: VCI - Region 0 - NTSC

Big thanks to Gregory Meshman for the Review!

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Region 0 - NTSC

Runtime 1:35:09

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.64 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.


Audio Dolby Digital Mono (English)
Subtitles None
Features Release Information:
Studio: VCI

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• VCI British Cinema Promo (3:16)
• The Halfway House trailer (1:49)
• Runaway Daughters trailer (1:32)
• Teenage Rebel trailer (2:17)

DVD Release Date: June 30th, 2009
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Chapters 13



Serious Charge is a daring drama ahead of its time - like in The Children's Hour 2 years later, a rumor is started about a prominent member of society working with youths about his homosexuality. In this case it's a vicar accused of making sexual advances toward a young lad and the rumor is confirmed by a local woman who has her own grudge toward the vicar. While some of the characterizations may seem outdated, the film still holds true thanks to great cast headlined by Anthony Quayle as the vicar, Sarah Churchill as the local woman having her own plans for the vicar and Andrew Ray as the accuser. Another British drama would deal with this subject more head-on in 1961, Basil Dearden's Victim with Dirk Bogarde.


The dual-layered disc from VCI looks nice. The transfer is soft, but there is little damage and contrast is good. The presentation seem to be an open-matte, based on extra-headroom and title placement. The mono audio is fine, with Cliff Richard's hit tunes (including Living Doll) being the highlights of the soundtrack and placing the film in historic perspective. There are no extras related to the film, although trailers for 3 other teen-ploitation flicks are presented as well as a 3-minute VCI British Cinema Promo.

  - Gregory Meshman


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Region 0 - NTSC


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