By People Staff
November 07, 1977 12:00 PM

On Broadway, British playwright Peter Schaffer’s story of a doubt-ridden psychiatrist trying to find out why a young boy has blinded six horses was thoroughbred drama. Unfortunately, this slow-moving, self-conscious film version for which there were high expectations finishes out of the money. Directed by Sidney Lumet, Equus (Latin for “horse”) stars an aging Richard Burton as Dr. Martin Dysart (a part he played briefly on the stage) and elastic-faced Peter Firth, who created the role of the sexually disturbed boy on Broadway. Joan Plowright is superb as Firth’s Bible-quoting, confused Mum, and Burton’s frequent soliloquies—directed straight at the camera—are suitably tortured. But all the tension and stark symbolism of the stage production are dissipated as the movie plods like an old wheelhorse to its inevitable conclusion. Sadly, one of the major disappointments of the year. (R)