Synopsis by Michael Betzold
Released in Great Britain as The Spinster, this romantic drama is based on a novel by Sylvia Ashton-Warner. Shirley MacLaine plays Anna Vorontosov, a Pennsylvania-born schoolteacher who has taken a job in rural New Zealand. The permissive habits of the Maori families whose children she teaches continually shock her. Though she is emotionally repressed, Anna is a remarkable teacher who brings innovative classroom methods to her job. Her racially mixed classes are thriving. W.W.J. Abercrombie (Jack Hawkins) is a school administrator who is won over by her methods. Paul Lathrope (Laurence Harvey) is a teacher who longs to be a singer but is lonely and irresponsible. The icy Anna, frightened of men, rebuffs their advances. Her chief aide, Whareparita (Nobu McCarthy), a 15-year-old Maori, becomes pregnant. The Maoris accept this as a natural development. But her baby dies during childbirth. Soon after, Paul crashes his motorcycle and dies. When Anna learns that Paul was the baby's father, she wonders whether the crash was an accident or a suicide, and she blames her rejection of Paul for the pregnancy.
child, education, love-triangle, native, repression, romance, sex, spinster, teacher, love, Maori, news, school, writing