Absolution (1978) Script

Hey, Dad! What do you want?

Anything doing? I beg your pardon?

Have you any odd jobs up at the school?

Chief cook, bottle washer, you know the kind of thing.

There are no current vacancies, and, if there are, they're generally advertised in the local town journal, which is ten miles away.

Are you the gaffer? Hey, how about a gardener?

I could do you a lovely rock garden, with alpine flowers and waterfalls.

I think we can look after ourselves very well, thank you.

Very good. And a Merry Christmas to you, too!

In good voice, Colonel? Doing my best, Father.

Gale? I'm enjoying it, Father.

Good, I'll see you in the rehearsal.

Straighten your tie, Gregory. You look like a lout.


Going to the rehearsals, Father? Yes.

Down with the lights, please! One!

- One! It keeps sticking, Father.

Well, hang on, I'll be over with you in just a second.

Sit down, sit down.

Just a second. Now, what's the trouble, Black?

We went through all these cues yesterday.

Everything all right? More or less, Father.

Still a few technical hiccups.

Although I must say that our Lady Jane is coming along rather nicely.

Surprising choice.

♪ Fading is the taper waist

♪ Shapeless grows the shapely limb

- ♪ And although severely laced ♪ My taste is not for comic opera.

Everybody behaving himself?

Spreading is the figure trim ♪ Fine, fine. Would you excuse me a minute'?

♪ Stouter than I used to be

♪ Still more corpulent grow I-I-I-I

♪ There will be too much of me ♪

Sit down, sit down.

You look splendid, I must say.

How does it feel to be a soldier of the Queen?

Rather hot and uncomfortable, Father.

Father, are these the sort of uniforms they used to use in the Crimea?

Yes, yes. Intolerable during the day, I believe, but you'd be jolly grateful at night.

Hello, Father. How did you like the aria?

Not too bad. It's awfully difficult, actually, Father.

I mean, singing and playing the cello at the same time.

There was one thing that I wanted to ask you, Father.

DO you think I should sing it seriously?

Well, I mean, I do remember that it's a funny opera, I mean, funny ha-ha, but, in actual fact, Lady Jane's quite a sad character.

He's gone, Dyson.

"How to keep beauty, beauty, beauty, from vanishing away?

"O, is there no frowning of these wrinkles, ranked wrinkles deep down?

"No waving off of these most mournful messengers, "still messengers, sad and stealing messengers of grey?

"No, there's none, there's none, O no, there's none, "Nor can you long be, what you now are, called fair, "DO what you may do, what, do what you may, "And wisdom is early to despair.

"So be beginning, be beginning to despair.

"O no, there's none, none, no, there's none. Be beginning..."

It's there.

"Be beginning to despair, despair, despair, despair, despair, despair."

Now, then. The poem may seem difficult at first, but I think the meaning is clear. And the meaning is what?

Um... beauty. Physical beauty. Physical beauty, exactly.

And why the despair?

Urn... because, er... beauty's only been given to us so that it can be taken away again.

Yes, yes, true. Because, after all, what are we but a little blood, and a little flesh, and a collection of bones, and, eventually, the skeleton, but even that dissolves, and turns into dust, and vanishes into air.

"Into thin air", as Shakespeare says, and we're left with nothing to give back.

And so what does... what's the answer in the poem?

That we should give beauty back to God.

Yes. While it's still ours to give.

Let's see the exact words.

"The flower of beauty, fleece of beauty, too too apt to, ah! to fleet, "Never fleets more, fastened with the tenderest truth

"To its own best being and its loveliness of youth:

"it is an everlastingness of, O it is an all youth!"


Father? What is it?

Can we watch the World Cup on TV?

No, not now. But it's the semi-finals tonight, Father.

Rivellino's playing, and he's a very good Catholic.

Dyson, I said "not now", and I mean not now.

Yes, Father.

"O then, weary then why should we tread? O why are we so..."

What are you doing with that? Put it away.

Is it a genuine African spear, Father?

Yes, yes.

"Where kept? DO but tell us where kept, where."

What a pig!

Yeah. Perhaps we could try again at half time.

I bet if Stanfield wanted to watch it, we could.

Oh, come on. We don't stand a chance with him in there.

"Dyson, I said 'not now', and I mean not now."

No. What's wrong?

Should have moved Rook to Bishop 6.

Why don't you jump out of a ten-storey window?

See? What did I tell you?

That's the problem, you see. Leaving your queen exposed...

Feeling nice and spiritual, Stanfield?

Been polishing your halo?

Don't you want to watch the football, Stanfield?

Come on, Benjie!


Benjie? Yes, what's your problem, Arthur?

Here's the Dennis Wheatley I was telling you about. It's very good.

Is it? Oh. Thanks a lot.

What was he going on about tonight, Benjie?

Oh, usual exhilarating stuff.

Pus and bones. It's very pleasant.

I don't mind about missing the football, Benjie.

Why the hell should I care what you mind about, Arthur?

How's it going?

Fine, thanks.

♪ I went down to Shady Grove

♪ I went to see my darling

♪ I came back from Shady Grove

♪ I went back to Harlem

♪ Shady Grove, my little love

♪ Shady Grove, I say

♪ Shady Grove, my little love

♪ I'll be going away ♪

Morning, Father. Good morning.

Shall I put your vestments out, Father? Very good of you. Thank you.


Morning, lads! Morning!

The sun's singing, the birds are shining.

Shut up!

Gregory, get in the queue, and shut up.

Peterson, have you got any razor blades?

You can borrow my razor if you like.

All right, come on, you lot. Get a move on!

Steel, don't forget you're on the altar this morning.

And you, Fitch, so get a move on.

Everything all right? Those two embarrassing bastards.

Oh, well, that's to be expected.

♪ Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum ALL". X Et cum spiritu tuo X

Dominus vobiscum. Et cum spiritu tuo.

I couldn't have an extra sausage, could I, Mrs HP?

No you can't! I've got enough to worry me without greedy boys asking for extra sausages.

If you've got any complaints to make... ...with a bomb in the middle.

Morning, Benjie.

So, these boffins invented a thing called hang-jang-drop.

Now the idea of the bomb was they would launch it from a ship, it would roll over the surface of the sea, and come up on the beach with a great big explosion.

But, well, the only problem was, when they launched it, it sank.

Would you like a roll, Father?

"Arriving there first, the Beljay..." Belgiae.

"Bel-gye were fortunate in being able to choose

"the terrain from which they would face the Romans."

Very good. Now, who will give us the next thrilling instalment?

Father! Dyson.

Father, before translating the text, I'd like to bring up the question of the Roman strategy.

Translate, Dyson. Yes, Father.

"They enclosed themselves in an earthworks twelve feet high.

"This position angered the Romans."

Father, I was wondering how come the Romans didn't build a siege ramp?

Dyson, translate. I don't want to waste time in a discussion on strategy But, Father, why didn't they build a siege ramp?

Like they did at Masada, Father. Do you remember?

Continue with the translation.

“His constitutis rebus, nactus, nactus“, Dyson.

I'm sorry, Father, I think it's a very valid point of view.

Nactus, Dyson. If the Romans did build a siege ramp...

Will you translate "nactus" for me?!

I c-c-can't, Father.

I'm not surprised.

Your head is too full of siege ramps.

Stanfield, you tell him.

Urn... "having obtained by chance", Father.


You will stay in detention this afternoon, Dyson.

You will write out the whole chapter, in Latin and in English.

And that is a punishment you have not obtained by chance.

Continue, Stanfield.

"This position angered the Romans, because the enemy, "having obtained by chance

"the good fortune of overseeing the Roman position, "now faced the difficult task of overcoming the obstacles

"that the enemy had placed in front of them."

Very good.


♪ The soldiers of our Queen

♪ Are linked in friendly tether

♪ Upon the battle scene

♪ They fight the foe together

♪ There ev'ry mother's son

♪ Prepared to fight and fall is

♪ The enemy of one

♪ The enemy of all is!

♪ The enemy of one

♪ The enemy of all is!

♪ In a doleful train

♪ Two and two we walk all day ♪

♪ For we love in vain! ♪ Quiet! Quiet! Ssh!

♪ None so sorrow... ♪

♪...sneering at us, fleering at us, jeering at us!

♪ Pretty sort of treatment

♪ For a military man! ♪

♪ The soldiers of our Queen

♪ Are linked in friendly tether

♪ Upon the battle scene

♪ They fight the foe together

♪ There ev'ry mother's son

♪ Prepared to fight and fall is

♪ The enemy of one

♪ The enemy of all is!

♪ The enemy of one

♪ The enemy of all is!

Hey, you!

Do you realise this is private property?

What are you doing here, then?

The school has a special arrangement with the owners.

All property is theft.

I bet those black buzzards up there didn't tell you that.

We could report you, you know? There's a YMCA in the town.

Yes, why don't you go there?

Eh, they give me bad vibes, those places. I get claustrophobia.

All right. We'll give you till tomorrow. Come on, you lot.

And mind what you do with your litter! Thanks a million.


Incredible, those people.

Five minutes out of their nappies, and they're talking like High Courtjudges.

What's your name?

Benjamin Stanfield.

Did you break into the school last night?

Who, me? Whatever gave you an idea like that?

Somebody did. Stole food from the kitchens.

Maybe they needed it. D'y0u ever think of that?

It's a Catholic school, yours, isn't it? That's right, yeah.

I went to Catholic school myself.

Oh, did you? Yeah.

How fast does this thing go, then?

Oh, about a ton. What, this heap ofjunk?

I've been to Katmandu on that bike.

Have you ever been there?

No, I've never been anywhere.

All right, I'd better go now.

Hey, fine. You can come back if you like.

All right.

♪ Diddle-dum-da, doo-dum-da

♪ Dooby-dooby-do bim barn born ♪ Good. Now, let us look at the second condition for the forgiveness of sins.

That is, the confession itself.

We're used to the penitent and the priest being separated by a screen, or grille.

What are the advantages of that? VVeaveL The priest can't go round afterwards and blackmail them.

All right. Not quite, Weaver.

Nevertheless, there's something in what he says.

The very anonymity of the confession is of great help to those who have grievous sins to confess.

What else, Stanfield?

It reminds the penitent that he's in fact confessing to God.

Very good. That is the crux of the matter.

The priest is an intermediary, a middle-man between the penitent and Almighty God.

It is for this reason, incidentally, that the priest is bound to secrecy, as you know.

Now what... yes?

Father, supposing I told the priest in confession who I was and where I lived? Yes?

And that I'd kidnapped someone and got 'em tied up in me basement.

Raquel Welch! That's enough. Yes?

Well, could the priest pass it on to the police?

Cobb, what do you think?

No, Father.

No, exactly. Now let me make this perfectly clear.

There are no circumstances under which a priest can hand on information of this kind.

Even, for example, if I told my priest that I was sorely tempted to murder somebody tonight.

And if you don't stop yawning, Black, I may be forced to carry out that threat.

Even then, the priest would only warn me that my soul was in peril of eternal damnation.

Is that understood? Well, yes. Thanks, Father.

It is possible that a penitent may give the priest permission to discuss what was said in the confessional, but even then, the priest is bound to secrecy, except for that one specific occasion.

Father? Yes, Dyson?

Father, supposing the priest does break the seal of confession?

What if he tells a second priest... Give up, Dyson.

...outside of confession, that someone's going to murder someone else?

And if he goes to the police, is he committing a mortal sin too?

Dyson, under no circumstances whatsoever may a priest break the seal of the confession.

Is that understood?

Yes, Father. Good.

Take your time. Get closer.

Shut up!

Aargh, hell!

You dumpling! That's not the way you griddle trout.

It is the first day I've done it.


You take a look at that, your fingers.

Use your pinkie, right?

Do they all talk like you in Scotland?

You should listen to yourself sometimes.

Now watch.

Hey, that's terrific!

Is it terrific?

DO you ever feel guilty about anything?

What kind of question is that?

No, I dunno.

The swine back there, they try and make you feel guilty whatever you do.

Och, you'll be okay once you've left that dump and knocked around a bit.


Take these.

I'd like to kill the swine.

Like this.

Can I have some more whisky? Mmm.

Ah, this is the life, eh?

A fire, a bottle, share and share.

D'y0u know the best job leverhad?

It was in a fairground.

Yeah, I was a fortune teller. Doctor Xyngular.

I'd sit in this little tent, staring into a crystal ball, and tell people their husbands were going to come back to them.

Or they would win a fortune.

As long as they left smiling, I didn't care what crap I told them.

Can you read palms?

Oh, sure, yeah. Well, read mine, then.

Well, er...

You're gonna marry three times, have a dozen children, become a priest, and go to one of them leper colonies.

How about a song, eh?

♪ Keep your heavenly choir

♪ There's food on the fire

♪ I'm not for hire

♪ Oh no, not me

♪ To be a laugh and a joke

♪ A drink and a smoke

♪ Haydle-um-a-dee, diddle-um-da

♪ Diddle-dum-dee

♪ Diddle-dee-dee

♪ Diddle-um-a-dee-dum

♪ Diddle-um-a-dee dee-diddle-dum... ♪


Hi, Benjie. Did you have a good time?

Shut it!

You were out for ages.

Come on, Benjie, where have you been? Shut up.

Belt up out there. We're trying to sleep.

Be a sport. Look, piss off, will you? Just piss off.

CAWLEY". I said shut up!

What's going on out here?

Dyson, what are you doing?

Um, I woke up thirsty, Father. I went for a drink of water.

Go back to bed.

Hello! Don't often find you among the stragglers.

What was she like?

What? What was she like?

I won't tell anybody. Was it a girl?

Was it, Benjie? Was she pretty?

Yeah, she's all right.

Is she blonde? Is she?

No, she's, er... brunette, actually.

She's got long legs and these huge great bristols.

Yeah? Can you shut up now?


Are you seeing her again tonight, Benjie?

You are, aren't you?

I bet she's in love with you.

Is she?

Yeah, we're getting married tonight in the woods, actually.

Oh. We'll have a gypsy wedding.

What's one of those?

Bride and bridegroom piss in a bucket.

You'd better not let Goddard catch you.

Oh no, he's the best man.

No, Benjie, seriously.

There'll be trouble if he finds out.

There'll only be if you tell him.

L'm not going to tell anything, Benjie. Good.

He came into your cubicle. I wonder if he'll say anything to you?

I won't tell anybody.

He's turning out well, isn't he, our Father Henryson?

Certainly an enthusiast.

Mind you, those who teach English Literature do have an unfair advantage.

If only we could make our Latin Julius Caesar as animated as Shakespeare's.

Do you notice how he always tries to involve Dyson?

I like that. Poor boy must feel terribly left out of it most of the time.

I must confess, he rather makes my hackles rise.

Does he? That's a pity.

It's, er... it's not his physical affliction, but he seems so lacking in spirit.

Well, he admires you. And that is what you must build on.

O Caesar...

Hence! Wilt thou lift up Olympus?

Great Caesar...

Doth not Brutus bootless kneel?

Speak, hands, for me!

Do you think Stanfield would make a priest?

If I can lead him in the right direction.


A great shot, Benjie! Great shot!


There's a very important point here for Stanfield.

Match point!

Good shot! Lovely one! Good one!

He's got it!

Game, set and match to Stanfield and Cawley, by two sets to one. Just listen to that crowd reaction as Stanfield and Cawley walk to the pavilion.

Well played, Benjie!

We" Played!

Your serve's improved fantastically. It really has.

Listen, are you coming up for some tea?

Yeah, I'll be up in a minute. Can you take that?

Okay. See you there later. Cheers.

Well played, Benjie.

6-4, 3-6, 7-5.

I knew you could beat them.

Aren't you going to have a shower, Benjie?

You usually have a shower. Father.

DO you think you'll be stopping out tonight, Benjie?

If you are, I can put your pillow under the bedclothes, and Goddard will think s0me0ne's in your bed.

He won't find out, I promise.

I've got a spare pair of shoes as well.

I can put them under your bed, so he sees them there.

What do you say, Benjie?

I think, Arthur, that we've just about covered all this, unless you've got anything new to say?

Would you like me to do that for you, Benjie?

So that if he does come and have a look in your cubicle, well, he sees that somethings in your bed!

Take a pew, Arthur.

DO you think you'll be going out tonight, Benjie?

Remember you've got to be back for religious instruction!

Look, it's Stanfield! Yes, he's with that lout!

Do you think he's a drug pusher? Can't see how else he makes a living.

I've seen people like that hanging around my parents' villa in Algeciras, with dirty great scars on their arm from the syringes.

Weird, him getting mixed up with somebody like that.

Hey, Stanfield, what the hell do you think you're playing at?

Don't run so fast there! You'll heat your water!

You have a new friend, I hear.

Do you want to tell me about him?

Not much to tell, really, Father.

It's just somebody who's been camping in the woods, and his name's Blakey.

Is that the chap with the beard and the motorbike?

What's his special attraction for you, apart from being a thief?

It was he who broke into the school, wasn't it?

No. Oh? Go on.

He's interesting. He's done a lot of things that I'd like to do, and he's, er... well, he's free.

"Freedom" is a banner the unscrupulous frequently march under.

Yes, Father. He tells good stories, though.

Makes me laugh. Does he?

Well, I'm sorry to do this to you, Stanfield, but I must ask you never to see him again.

I think he's about the best friend I've ever had.

Nonsense. You hardly know him.

You really must try and find your friends within the school.

I'll only be here for a few more days.

Now, that's enough, that's enough.

Promise me never to see him again.

I'm waiting, Stanfield.

I have great hopes for you. You know that?

Don't let me down.

Promise me, please.

All right, Father. I promise.

Good boy.

Can I go now, Father?

All right.

So you'll be keeping away from the riff-raff, then?

Yeah. God made me promise not to see you again.

God? He's my teacher.

A priest called Goddard.

He wanders about like an undertaker with chilblains.

What does he learn you, this feller?

STANFIELDI Latin. Latin?

Yeah, and Religious Knowledge as well.

He's got the right name for it, then. Hasn't he, eh? God!

Straight from the horse's mouth!

She's a real comedian, your girlfriend.

Who, her? She's on the road to Liverpool.

'Ere, treasure. Have yourself a few drags on this.

Oh, er... no, thanks. I think I'd better go now.

Okay. Piss off.

Ta. Hey, listen, Benjie.

I reckon this teacher fancies you.

If, er... if I were you, kid, I'd tell him the tale.

Wild orgies in the woods.

Frolicking round in your birthday suit with me and Marquis de Blakey here.

That would get him going!

He'd get me expelled.

So what if he does? He already has his talons in you.

He wouldn't let you go that easily.

You could tell him I led you astray.

Tell him in confession. In confession?

Yeah, really lay it on. Make the bastard suffer.

What's wrong with that?

I mean, if he breathes as much as a word, he goes straight to Hell.

And next time you see him, in one of them Latin lessons, you can just sit there and smile.

Father, you must hear me.

I've already explained to you that I cannot.

I'm your form master, and therefore cannot accept your confession.

Why don't you try one of the chaplains?

Father Mountjoy or Father Matthews. They'd hear you gladly.

No, I couldn't, Father. Why not?

Because of what I have to confess. It has to be you or no-one, Father.

That's nonsense. Please, Father.

Please hear me. Please!

I beg you, Father. Please!

Very well. Kneel here.

Take the cushion.

Bless me, Father, for I have sinned.

May the Lord bless you.

It is two weeks since my last confession.

Yes, my child? I have committed a grievous sin.

What kind of sin? Sexual, Father.

Alone? No, with somebody else.

With Blakey, Father.

You've seen him again? You broke your promise?

Yes, and I'm sorry, Father.

What did he make you do?

He didn't make me, Father. I wanted him to.

Go on.

He brought a girl with him.

And afterwards, I made love with her while Blakey watched.

Did you realise that what you were doing is unnatural and wrong?

Blakey said we should experience everything, and then judge it for ourselves.

DO you agree with that? No, Father.

I should hope not. Are you now ashamed and disgusted that you permitted such abominations to take place?

Yes, Father. And you will never see Blakey again?

No, Father. Good, good.

For your penance, you shall make a novena to Our Lady, that she might henceforth guide you and intercede for you.

I have already had a word with the police about Blakey trespassing.

Let's hope they've sent him away by now.

Now do your act of contrition. Now!

God, the Father of mercies, through the death and resurrection of his Son has reconciled the world to himself and sent the Holy Spirit among us...

- Please forgive me... - ...as they have crucified my loving Saviour.

All right, beautiful! Get your clothes on... and skedaddle!

Afternoon, comrades. Nice day. I said, get 'em on!

They're still wet. They'll dry soon enough once they're on, mate.

Start no fires.

Who told you I was here?

A wee birdie. This your bike?

Right first time, comrade.

I suppose you'll want to see my licence?

We're not your comrades, shithouse.

Do you play this thing?

Old ukulele, eh?

Sure. I suppose you want me to give you a song?

♪ Way down upon the Swanee river

♪ Far, far away

♪ That's where... ♪ That's where you should go.

London, lad. Make yourself a fortune.

Then you wouldn't have to go nicking food from schools, would you?

What's that supposed to mean?

♪ Way down upon... ♪ Look, could you stop doing that?

You'll break one of the strings.

♪ Far, far away ♪ Here, can you tell this slob to give me my banjo back?

Here you are, lad.

PETERSON". And he replied:

"An enemy has done this." Then they said:

"Shall we pull out the weeds?" And he answered, "No, "for you may easily pull out the good wheat at the same time."


"They shall grow together, until the harvesting.

"And at that time, the reapers shall gather the weeds first, "and they shall be tied in bundles, for burning.

"But the good wheat I shall take into my barn."

Thank you. Who is the enemy, Cawley?

Satan, Father.

And the weeds? Sinners, Father.

No. Worse than that, I think.

To a certain extent, we are all sinners.

There are those among us whose lives are given over to evil.

That, perhaps, is nearer to the truth of the parable.

The weeds look remarkably like wheat.

Try to get rid of them while they're still growing, and there's a great danger that you pull up the good wheat with them.

Only after the weed has sprouted does it show itself for what it really is.

Something evil.

Something planted by the enemy, Satan.

"And they shall be gathered up and cast into the fire, and burned."

I told him, Blakey.

You know what you said about the confessions?

I told Goddard.

I told him about orgies, and everything.

What in God's name do I care?

Look what they've done to my banjo.

I'm sure they busted one of my ribs as well.

Well, that's not my fault, is it?

It isn't my fault, is it?

That bastard Goddard.

Before I leave here, I'd love to go up and do a real razor job on him.

Listen, Blakey, you can't leave now.

You've been drinking. You'll crash and kill yourself.



Look, buzz off, will you?

Then take me with you.

They're gonna drive me crazy at that place, Blakey.

Look, I'm on my own, Blakey. You're a weak, spoiled brat.

You'll never get your hands dirty. Come on, look, listen to me!

Fuck off! Fuck off!

Where have you been?

You've forgotten your promise to me. No, Father.

You're a disgrace to this school, and an insult to my teaching.

L'm sorry, Father. No, you're not.

You're simply sorry that you've been found out.

You will play no sports for the rest of the term.

And now, you will get down on your hands and knees and scrub the stairs and the corridor.

Now gm!


Cor blimey, ain't no Mrs Mop!

Don't work too hard, eh, love?

The Marx Brothers are on soon.

I suppose there's no chance of you coming, is there?

Cheer up, Stanfield. You'll be finished by midnight.

Get stuffed.

Er... sorry, Benjie. Can you move it?

I'm sorry.

I've got my bottom wet.

Now pick it up!

Okay, come on, quick as we can. Get a move on, Cobb.

Come on, Cobb, I'm freezing. Oh shut up, Hanley, you're always moaning.

Well, you give me your basin, then.

Gotta watch out, Goddard's on the Warpath.

Steel, this cubicle is an absolute disgrace.

L'm sorry, Father. Is that any way to make a bed?

Get rid of that disgusting orange peel.

Yes, Father.


Are you using scent? No, Father.

Old Pagan.

It's aftershave, Father. Birthday present from my...

Does it make you feel more of a man, dousing yourself with cheap perfume?

No, Father.

In ancient times, Dyson, real pagans used to expose new-born cripples and weaklings on the mountainside.

They wouldn't suffer them to live.

Yes, Father.

Keep that in mind when you ask for this back at the end of term.

Gregory, take that down, and tear it up. You know the one I mean.

Your parents wouldn't allow that at home, would they?

I'm sure they don't mind, Father.

Well, they should!

Father, I must talk to you. Not now, later.

Please, Father, it's terribly important. I said, "Not now, later."

I'll be late for my next class, and so will you.

Please, Father, I must speak to you.

Don't do that!

I want you to hear my confession.

Please, Father.

I see.

Come to the chapel at the end of the morning. We'll talk then.

Bless me, Father, for I have sinned.

Make your confession.

I don't quite know how to tell you this, Father, but I've done something terrible.

If you've sinned, do not lose heart.

We have Jesus Christ to plead for us with the Father.

Last night, when you caught me coming back into the school, I'd done something far worse than break my promise.

L... - Yes?

Blakey thought that I'd told the police about him.

He started shouting at me.

He said he was leaving.

He said terrible things.


I had to go back to him because I knew that you'd rejected me.

No, I would never do that.

And now he was rejecting me.

I picked up this heavy stone, and“. - And?

And I hit him on the head with it.

I killed him.

You murdered him?

I didn't mean to- I just didn't know what was happening.

I brought the stone down on his head as hard as I could.

I killed him.

I can't bear it, Father!

You've got to help me.

Please help me, Father. Help me.

You must keep in the forefront of your mind that God never abandons a sinner who is truly repentant.

I'd give anything to have Blakey alive again.

Forgive me if I'm in error here, but people sometimes dream things of which they're ashamed, and then, they feel guilty about them, and feel the need to confess them, even though they're things that haven't actually happened, as if they were true events.

You understand what I'm trying to say?

What, Father, that I dreamt killing Blakey?

It has happened- No, I went back to the woods last night, Father.

I took a spade with me, and I buried him.

Why don't you go and see for yourself?

Where is it?

It's in Basket Wood.

It's two hundred yards in, along the central path.

You know where that big fallen oak tree is?

I've buried him by the roots.

I will go there at once.

You will stay in the church, and make your sorrow known to God.

Strive to be near him with all your might.

When I return, we will decide how to proceed.

Yes, Father.


Stanfield? Are you there?

Stanfield! Come out!


Instantly, Stanfield!

Shit! Did you see him?

He's absolutely livid. I know. It was terrific, wasn't it?

How about when he got to the pumpkin?

Lying to him in confession? It's blasphemy!

He can't do anything about it, though, can he?

Because he's tied by the seal of confession.

What is the matter with you lot?

You're all terrified, aren't you?

You won't get punished, though.

Not by Goddard, or by anybody "up there".

That's a load of rubbish. Why are you still an altar boy?

It's all talk, isn't it?

When it comes down to it, you'll crawl with the rest of them.

What are you, crazy? We're not trying to get expelled!

Let's get back before Goddard gets there.

I should stick with Arthur. Yeah, he needs a friend.

Benjie! I understand why you did it.

I really admire you for it.

In fact, I wouldn't mind sharing the blame, if you like.

Or even taking all the blame.

I'll go to Goddard and tell him it was my idea.

Do you know what I wish you were, Arthur? What?

A lump of dog dirt on my shoe, so I could wipe you off on a stone.




It's blasphemy on a scale I haven't encountered in thirty years as a teacher and a priest.

You made a mockery of the rites of the Church, abused the Sacrament, and ended up by playing a filthy practical joke on God.

It wasn't on God, it was on you. On God!

My hands are tied.

I am bound to secrecy.

Otherwise I'd recommend your immediate expulsion.

I didn't mean to tell you.

I'm so sorry.

You've been... oh, God...

You've been like a real father to me.

Much better than my own.

I didn't... I didn't know I would hurt you so badly.

When you were cruel to me, I hated you.

I had to get back at you.

I'm so sorry.

Please, Father, forgive me. Please.

Very well.

But remember, I'm your teacher, and your spiritual adviser.

I'm not your father.

I swear to you, Father, I'll never do anything like this again.

And I know that God will help me to be strong.

Now go and make peace with him too.

We'll talk later.

Thank you, Father.

Help him, O God.

He's still so vulnerable.

I fear for him.

Good evening.

How did it sound from down here, then?

How did what sound?

Me crying. Was it convincing at all?


That's a relief. I was frightened Goddard might see through it.

Do you mean to say you were putting it on?

How thick can you get?

Arthur. Yes, what is it?

Do you mind me coming in?

Listen, I'm sorry about this afternoon.

Remember you said you'd like to take the blame for the scarecrow?

Yeah. Well, why don't you?

Like I did, in the confessional.

Did you see when Goddard was in there shouting at me just now?

I could see he was terrified.

If you said it was all your idea, he'd respect you, in a funny sort of way.

He didn't sound as if he was respecting you just then.

That's 'cause I've broken the rules, and they can't cope with that.

Nothing happened to me, and nothing would happen to you either.

The idea's okay, I suppose, except that Goddard doesn't hear the dormitory confessions.

Listen, if you get into that box, and just start spouting like I did, he'd listen.

Will you come with me?

Sure, if you'll do it.

Okay. I'll do it.

You are going to do it, aren't you?

Mmm. Good.


Get on with it.

Go on.

I've had defiant thoughts about you, Father.

Speak up. I can't hear you.

I've had defiant thoughts about you, Father.

You must specify their nature.

I've been siding with Stanfield against you, giving him my approval.

Is that all? Yes, Father, that's all.

That is most reprehensible.

In your pride, you have failed in your duty to submit to the authority of the Church.

I'm sorry, Father, it's just that... well, I like Benjie, and wish he'd like me.

I feel so left out all the time.

That is no excuse for sin, is it? No, Father.

You will save five decades of the Rosary for your penance, and spend fifteen minutes in church on your knees.

Yes, Father.

God the Father of mercies, through the death and resurrection of his Son...

...detest them above things, because they did deserve that dreadful punishment, because they have crucified my loving saviour Jesus Christ...

...through the ministry of the Church may God give you pardon and peace, and I absolve you from your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. Go in peace.

Thank you, Father.

Was I too hard on the boy?

Five decades of the Rosary, and fifteen minutes on his knees.

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, bless me, Father, for I have sinned.

May the Lord bless you. It's me, Father, Benjie.

Why have you come back here so soon?

Because I have to confess again.

What is it now?

What I told you before as a joke I've made happen.

I went to try and make it up with Blakey.

He was drunk.

He was yelling at me.

Suddenly, I lost control.

What is this melodramatic nonsense?

I picked up a stone, like I told you before, only this time I went through with it.

I killed him. You are very sick, my child.

Satan has poisoned your mind. Go there, Father.

I swear to you, Blakey's there, buried in the same grave.

I do not believe you. You must, Father.

What would be the point of playing the same joke twice?

Help me, Father. Give me absolution.

I will not give absolution for what I fervently hope is another practical joke.

Return here at eleven o'clock.

Let him not undergo the pains of Hell, because he died unshriven, but give him that bliss everlasting, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.



There's worse, Father. You get to enjoy it, killing.

Afterwards, thinking about it, you want to do it again.

Especially Arthur. He's so weak and clinging.

I despise him so much I want to stamp on him.

You want to kill Arthur? Yes. I want to kill the cripple.

My child, answer me this.

Do you trust me?

Yes, Father.

Will you be guided by me?


My child, you have entered a dark region of evil.

You must turn back, before Satan claims you utterly.

When I have absolved you, when you've made your act of contrition, we will go together to the police.

Go to the police?

Of course, of course. They must be informed immediately.

No, I don't think I will do that.

Because they'd put me inside, and I'd hate that.

No, I won't go to the police.

And of course, as we know, you can't.


You're up late tonight, Father.

Where have you been?

Toilet, father.

Goodnight, Father.

a' Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum ALL". X Et cum spiritu tuo X



I'm sorry, Father.

It's past eight o'clock.

Would you like me to put your kettle on for you?

No. Oh. All right.

So if the new timetable's approved, it'll muck everything up. Don't you agree?

I mean, the boys will never be able to get changed ready for matches if the after-match period is allowed to remain as it stands here.

So I intend to bring that point up earlier in the meeting.

It'll certainly affect your performance in several respects.

We have to be sure that the Head realises how serious this all is... Excuse me.

Well, where are you going, Father? The Head wants to start.

Tell him I'll see him later.

Oh, thank heavens you're here, Father.

Would you mind... - I'll talk to you later!

His wretched mother has rung three times since lunchtime, with some incomprehensible story about a birthday cake.

Come on, Cutting, don't hog it.

Shit, it's Goddard!

Have you seen Dyson or Stanfield?

What, out here, Father? Yes, here.

No, Father. No, Father.

Gregory? I saw them at lunch, Father.

Well, I'm in charge of the stockroom, I was put in charge of the stockroom, and while I remain in charge of the stockroom, those rules apply.

Look, the boys must have somewhere to express themselves.

Well, they've got it.

They've got the music room, the art room and the gym.

The one thing that they have not, repeat not, got is my jotters.

Which is not to say that I wouldn't have minded, but, let's face it, that poem of young Gaffney's was pure, old-fashioned filth!

If I could put on my English Literature hat for a moment, I'd say the poem showed a great deal of tenderness and sensitivity.

Nonsense! That's the sort of wishy-washy claptrap that will bring the Communists in one of these days.

Surely what's at issue is whether Gaffney wrote it as part of his lessons or not?

And if he didn't, whether the Brigadier was justified in refusing him a new jotter?

Personally, I tend to agree with Father Henryson...

Last time, we were talking about what?


Er, the Kingdom of Heaven, Father.

Which is where? Within us.

How can that be?

How can a kingdom, a whole kingdom, be within us?


Urn... well...

Dyson. Where's Dyson?

Father? Where's Dyson?

Don't know, Father.

Any of you boys seen Dyson? I haven't seen him, Father.

All worlds other than the world of the spirit are false.

They have no substance.

Stanfield, you've seen Dyson?

No, Father. Why should I have seen him?

Because I saw you with him this afternoon.

You were walking towards the cricket field.

Yes, that's right.

We were going to the boat-building sheds.

I saw you watching us.

Did you work together all afternoon?


Arthur said he had a headache, and wanted some fresh air, so he went off for a walk.

A walk? Mmm.

Where? To the woods, I think.

I certainly haven't seen him since.

Boys, keep on reading quietly until I come back.

Take your time! There's no need to panic!

Take your time!

They say it started in a chip pan in the kitchen. Is that true?

And if so, is cook perfectly all right?

Strictly between ourselves, you know, Brigadier...

Nothing, Headmaster. There's no fire in the kitchen.

That's strange. I wonder how the rumour could have started?

That I intend to find out, Headmaster.

One missing from 5B, Father. Oh, who is that?

Arthur Dyson, Father.

Dyson. Send someone to look for him. Steel.

Come on, he may have fallen! Yes, Father.

5D all present, Headmaster.

HENRY SON". Headmaster'?

They've searched the building from top to bottom.

There's no sign of a fire anywhere, but a fire alarm has been smashed on the top corridor.

Thank you, Father. Turn the mechanism off, will you?

It's giving us all a headache. Certainly, Headmaster.

No doubt, you will all be delighted to hear that there is no fire.

But I intend to find out later how the alarm came to be set off.

You may return to your forms.

Could I have your permission to refer to something you said in your confession?

Of course, Father.

Tell me truthfully, have you harmed Dyson?

Why should I harm Dyson?

Is he dead or alive?

What are you talking... Listen, listen.

We know from our Lord Jesus Christ that there is no man so stained with sin that he cannot be redeemed by the blood of our Saviour.

You are a self-confessed murderer.

You must be having hallucinations, Father.

I sent you to find a scarecrow.

Why don't you go and see a psychiatrist?

He'll understand all about the problems of celibate priests.

Your tricks and insolence won't send me mad, if that's what you're after.

The Devil is in you, but he won't, he won't bring me down.

L'm a match for the Devil. Calm down, Father.

Come here!

Let's talk about this rationally, Father.

Rationally? Rationally? So it's the voice of reason now, is it?

Satan appears in many disguises to destroy, but you won't destroy me. I'll be constant.

You're mad. Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, make me constant.

Jesus,Jesus,Jesus, make me constant, make me constant...

You're raving mad! Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, make me constant, make me constant, make me constant.

So you actually expected Dyson to be found absent?

Yes, I did. Good God!

Well, it seems a rather elaborate way of confirming your fears. However...

Look, Father Goddard, what is all this about?

Can't you fill us in a bit more? I think we ought to know.

Even if I could, there simply aren't words to describe... things, things, powers.

Doesn't matter.

What about the police?

They'll let me know if they hear anything.

As for Dyson's parents, I've tried not to alarm them.

All right, unless anyone has something else to say, we'll meet again with the rest of the staff first thing in the morning.

I'm sure he'll be found soon.

Try to stop worrying-

Is there any way I can help?


No, thank you.

Father Goddard?

Are you hearing confessions now? So am I.

Father, I'm afraid I shall very shortly have to break some terrible news to the Headmaster.

News? What news?

I was hoping I might rely upon you for your moral and possibly vocal support.

You see, while in chapel this morning, my eye alighted on the foot of the rood screen, and there, in little heaps all along, there was, dear oh clear, sawdust.

Which can only mean a visitation from our friend the woodworm.

And indeed, on closer inspection, there were little holes...

I'm sorry I have to deny everything outside the confessional.

I'm sure you realise I do it to protect myself.

Here, it's different.

You can't talk about it. It's secret.

What do you want to tell me?

About Arthur. What about Arthur?

He's dead. I killed him. That's why you couldn't find him.


- Do you want to see him? No, I don't want to see him!

- His grave is exactly a hundred paces... No!

...due north of Blakey's.

No! I couldn't help it.

He was always following me about.

"Can I, Benjie? Well done, Benjie!

"Will you let me, Benjie? Here's a book for you, Benjie."

Wherever I went, he was always behind me, bleating, like a limping little lamb.

Earlier today, I went to the wood to visit Blakey, I wanted to ask his forgiveness.

Arthur followed me.

I was kneeling by Blakey's head.

His eyes were strange, sort of frozen.

I was crying.

"What are you kneeling there for, Benjie?

"Why are you crying, Benjie?

"What are you talking to Blakey for, Benjie?"

He ruined the whole ceremony.

I took him, and I smashed his head against a tree, and I smashed him, and I smashed him, and smashed him!

Was that the real reason you killed him?

I don't understand, Father.

He found Blakey's grave with you beside it.

He was not bound to silence like me. He would have told the police.

I never thought of that, Father.

I just felt it was right he should be killed.



Where are you?



I know you're there!


I know you're there.


Now what are you playing at, Father?

...th0u wilt not reject a humble and a contrite heart.

God, forgive me.

Have mercy on me.

He won't. You've sinned.

And now you must be punished.

I've come to watch over you.


I've come to watch you suffer.

You can't shut me out, you know.

Do you think I might be in your head? Not real at all?

After all, it's not a very sound head, is it?

Confused by murders you can't talk about.

The body's still where you left it.


It's cold now. But the spirit is free to watch over you.

When you knelt by the side of the grave, I was there, watching over you.

Is it you, Stanfield?


When you drove the spade into the skull, when you washed the blood off your hands in the stream, I was there.

- I will come to you now. No.

Shall I come to you now?

No. No.


It's you!

Oh, yes. I'm no ghost, Father.

Want to feel my pulse?

But I saw you dead.

You saw what I wanted you to see.

All I had to do was move Blakey's body to a new grave, and put my spare brace on it.

I knew you would assume it was me buried there.

Blakey? That's it.

I killed him with this.

I'm very accurate.

Notjust with a sling.

Mimicking voices, too.

Especially in the confessional, when you speak in a whisper and can't be seen.

But it was Stanfield who confessed.

It was, the first time.

After that...

Wherever I went, he was always behind me, bleating like a limping little lamb.

I took him, and smashed him, and smashed him, and smashed him!

My God.

I couldn't have been that deceived.

But you were. Oh, by the way, Father, did you know Benjie had lost his faith?

You've sent him to Hell, to suffer through all eternity.

Such hatred. Why?

What did you give me?

I needed your love, Father.

My love?

Yes. Nearly every day, you hurt me, humiliated me, punished me without mercy.

It's for your own... =“good?

For your own strength. Surely you realise that?

My child, you need all the love and guidance I can give you.

You would help me, Father?

Yes, if you trust me.

Trust? I've idolised you.

I'm frightened, Father.

I don't know what I've done.

Then partake of God's great mercy.

Tomorrow, I will take your sins upon myself.

I will go to the police, and confess both the murders.

I will find some reason to satisfy them.

As for you, in time, perhaps you will learn to be one of God's true servants.

You would do that for me?

It would be my reparation.

Thank you, Father.

You are the lost sheep of the parable.

The lost sheep.

Forgive me.

Let us pray together.

Many and mighty are thy ways, O Lord, for where the night was black and terrible, thy light hath shone, and turned every sadness into joy.

Can you feel it, my child?

The love of God pouring down with infinite abundance, into your soul?

No, Father.

Why should I give you the comfort of martyrdom?

As I see it, you have two choices.

One is to go to the police, and tell them you killed Stanfield, which puts you in prison for life.

Or, since you won't be able to tell them why you did it, more probably in a madhouse.

The other is to commit suicide, Which will put you in Hell for eternity.

If it was up to me, believing what you believe, I think I'd choose detention in preference to Hell.

It'll probably be more comfortable, and the sentence shorter.


He'll me!

He'll me!