IMDb > The Loves of Joanna Godden (1947) > Reviews & Ratings - IMDb

Reviews & Ratings for
The Loves of Joanna Godden More at IMDbPro »

Filter: Hide Spoilers:
Index 2 reviews in total 

11 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

English Pastoral

7/10
Author: allenrogerj from United Kingdom
15 May 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

There's a scene where the camera looks at the face of Googie Withers, playing Joanna Godden, as she sleeps on the shingle at Dungeness. The lips- a thin, firm upper lip and a full sensuous lower lip- could sum up Joanna's nature: the division between desire and duty that dominates the film. The title only really makes sense if we include Joanna's love for her farm and farming as the dominant one.

In 1905 Joanna takes over her dead father's farm; because her fiancé, who owns the neighbouring farm, patronises her she rejects him and decides to run the farm herself. It's interesting because Joanna is not shown as a conscious feminist or someone who innovates for its own sake- some of her innovations fail, like cross-breeding to produce more twin lambs for market- but there's a later scene showing Joanna riding on a harvester on newly-ploughed and sown land producing fodder for her sheep where her exultation is manifest- a modern Boudicca in triumph. Nor is she depicted as enlightened. She is shocked that her younger, educated sister refuses to wear stays and when she is engaged to an educated man it is plain that there is a clash between the naturalness that attracts him and Joanna's own taste for over-elaborate and artificial Victoriana. In the end, of course, Joanna ends up with the neighbouring farmer.

The plot is episodic and the other characters are not properly developed or depicted- especially Joanna's discontented sister and her educated fiancé, whose death by drowning seems arbitrary too, although it is very effective as another depiction of nature's random cruelty- but it is well-worth watching for Withers' own performance. As well as the story there are fine depictions of the marsh- a brief series of scenes showing time passing with characteristic music by Vaughan Williams is wondefully imagined, and a quiet but obvious pleasure in the landscaper all the way through. In fact, it's a pity that the makers didn't have the courage to slow the film down and show more such scenes. It isn't a rural fantasy and is probably as realistic about farm life as a film then could be- indeed, the last scenes take place with a background of smoke from the holocaust of a foot-and-mouth outbreak.

The main reason I'd gone to the film was RVW's music and I wasn't disappointed. However, one very interesting aspect, especially compared with modern films, was how very restrained the use of music was, deliberately and carefully placed and often not there at all.

Was the above review useful to you?

7 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Screening At BFI Southbank

5/10
Author: malcolmgsw from london
14 January 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This film was shown to a packed audience at the BFI Southbank yesterday.It was introduced by Joannna McCullum the daughter of the 2 stars of this film.She told us that her parents actually met on the set of this film and that their first scene together was the argument.The film was supposed to take 4 weeks to shoot but because of bad weather on location actually took 10 weeks.She said that many of the locals were utilised as extras and for small parts.Thus the "looker" who is sacked by Joanna Goodden was actually a local looker(shepherd).Because of the bad weather her father spent a lot of the time sitting in a car waiting for the weather to clear playing cards with Chips Rafferty.As to the film itself it is unusual in that it has a feminist thread and at times has a slight documentary feel about it.however it starts to go off the rails when Jean kent comes back from school,looking rather older and wiser than her 18 years.Her subsequent marriage to McCullum and desertion of him and the eventual coupling of the 2 stars seems at times to be rather formulaic and unsuited to the characters and the emotions we had previously witnessed.

Was the above review useful to you?


Add another review


Related Links

Plot summary Ratings External reviews
Plot keywords Main details Your user reviews
Your vote history