“The Paper Chase” was a feature-length movie which was released from the United States of America in the Year 1973. The genre of the said movie can be categorized as a combination of drama and love story. The cast of characters among others were Timothy Bottoms, John Houseman and Lindsay Wagner.
The focus of the story line was about one of the 1st Year Students at the Harvard Law School. When individuals entered the mentioned law school as students, it will need a lot of sacrifice and hard work for the said students to be able to survive the rigors that are within its system to be able to make it as future lawyers and then to take the bar examinations which will give them the opportunity to practice the legal profession.
A study group of students, one of whom was played by Bottoms, was formed in order to serve as motivation for them to study hard because being a law school student at Harvard is not a joke. This was presented in the movie by the character played by Houseman who is considered a “terror” professor in the course he teaches which is entitled “Contracts”.
The student character of Bottoms is faced with the challenge of balancing his time for his individual law studies, sessions with the study group he joined and his relationship with a divorced woman (Wagner) who turned out to be the daughter of his professor. He met the woman one evening after buying pizza when she requested that he accompany her because someone had been following her. He walked her home and told her that he is a law student. He asked her if she had been in a law campus before. Her reply: Yes. He did not know then that she is the daughter of his law professor and he visited her again and asked her for a date. She agreed and from then on they became a couple.
There was a scene where Bottoms and one of his study group classmates rented a room in a hotel to review for a certain number of days in preparation for a final examination in the course on Contracts. The duo imposed a no distraction policy for themselves wherein their review would not be disrupted by even the change of the cover of their beds for their room and its cleaning on a daily basis which made the hotel staff suspicious on what they are doing. The hotel front desk man even opened their room with a reserve key and was shocked to see so many papers scattered inside. Earlier, upon their arrival at the hotel, Bottoms’ character suggested that the television be removed from their room.
In those days, the professor send the grades of their students by mail. In the closing scene, Bottoms received the mail, but did not take a look at it. Instead, he made it into a paper airplane and let it fly from the beach where he is standing.
Looking back, his attendance to the classes of Houseman’s character tested his and his classmates endurance and patience to the methods of their professor. There were times when the students were subjected to several and tricky legal questions posed by their professor. This will gauge whether the students will continue with their law studies or will drop out.
Bottoms’ character got the baptismal of fire from the professor on the first day of classes on the Contract course. He thought that the latter will just give an overview of the course and orientation. He was wrong. The professor’s style is to give assignment of legal cases to be read by the students under him on their first day of classes. This assignment is posted on a bulletin board in a selected hall in the law campus. If the student overlooked this, he will have to bear the consequences.
The number of students in the class on the Contract course is about over 100. The professor is in a platform where he can see all his students whose positions are like audience in a theater except for the desks where they put their materials. The professor has a seat plan with the designated numbers for respective students with their photographs which served as his guide in calling them for recitation.
As the days go by, Bottoms’ character adapted to his method of teaching and the insults the professor told his students which served as drills in their becoming lawyers. There was a scene where Bottoms’ character felt insulted when the professor gave him a coin to call his mother. He said bad words to the latter before leaving the class and when he was about to go out of the room, the latter told him that it was the nicest thing he said that day and he returned to his seat. It turned out that he was tested again by his professor.
The subject movie of this online article was later turned into a television series for four seasons which was broadcast in the United States of America.
The images that were used for this feature post were taken from selected online resources as references.
That’s all for now.
Until the next feature post.
Happier Days Ahead to All of Us!
Before the 1970s ended, Houseman and Wagner later worked again together in the television series entitled “The Bionic Woman”. Wagner played the lead title role while Houseman (in a guest role) played the main villain in a three part episode.