A.J. Cronin’s novel of a minor diplomat with considerable academic qualifications, but without human understanding, translates into absorbing screen entertainment. It is a leisurely told story with colorful Spanish backgrounds.
Michael Hordern is the diplomat separated from his wife, continually passed up for promotion, who insists that his son is delicate, cannot join other children in games or at school and is denied every form of companionship. Dirk Bogarde is hired as a gardener and his friendly attitude to the kid sparks a violent jealousy in the father.
Bogarde gives a polished, restrained study as the Spanish gardener whose motives in befriending the boy are completely misunderstood. Jon Whiteley’s moppet is a keenly sensitive portrayal. Cyril Cusack, as a sinister valet, and Maureen Swanson, as the gardener’s girl friend, top a good supporting cast.