Child's Play is a 1972 American drama-mystery film directed by Sidney Lumet. It stars James Mason and Robert Preston. The screenplay by Leon Prochnik is based on the 1970 play of the same title by Robert Marasco. The film centers on the rivalry between two faculty members at St. Charles, an exclusive Roman Catholic boarding school for boys. Joe Dobbs is an easy-going, well-liked English teacher, while Latin and Greek instructor Jerome Malley is feared and hated by his students. Malley is caring for his dying mother, and his stress is exacerbated by a series of threatening phone calls and written notes he receives. He's certain Dobbs is the source, but his caustic personality prevents him from winning any sympathy or support.