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The Knack... and How to Get It (1965)

The Knack ...and How to Get It (original title)
Approved | | Comedy | 7 July 1965 (France)
In England, the times are a changing: it's mods and rockers. On the day Nancy gets off the London train, cases in hand, looking for the YWCA, Colin has had enough of missing out on the ... See full summary »

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Nominated for 2 Golden Globes. Another 6 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Ray Brooks ...
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Tom
William Dexter ...
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Margot Thomas ...
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Helen Lennox ...
Wensley Pithey ...
Edgar Wreford ...
Frank Sieman ...
Bruce Lacey ...
George Chisholm ...
...
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Storyline

In England, the times are a changing: it's mods and rockers. On the day Nancy gets off the London train, cases in hand, looking for the YWCA, Colin has had enough of missing out on the sexual revolution. He begs his smooth (and misogynistic) pal Tolen to teach him 'the knack' - how to score with women. Serendipitously, Colin and his new lodger Tom meet up with Nancy while Colin's buying a bed larger than Tolen's. The three hit it off, but their simple fun ends when Tolen meets Nancy. Colin is jealous but impotent, and Tolen both attracts and repels her. She swoons, wonders what happened, and cries 'rape.' Impish serendipity rubs against unsettling ambiguity; Tolen bolts. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

ywca | bed | mods | british new wave | mod | See All (34) »

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There's a niche for 'The Knack.' See more »

Genres:

Comedy

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

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Details

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Language:

Release Date:

7 July 1965 (France)  »

Also Known As:

The Knack... and How to Get It  »

Box Office

Budget:

$364,000 (estimated)
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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Film debut of Jane Birkin. See more »

Quotes

[criticizing England's youth culture]
Old Man: Mods and Rockers!
See more »

Connections

Spoofs The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964) See more »

Soundtracks

And How To Get It
Written by John Barry
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User Reviews

 
Misunderstood, Under-appreciated, and Overrated
7 April 2008 | by (Silver Spring, MD) – See all my reviews

A steady stream of very attractive and nearly identical manikins come to life and march starry-eyed around the block and up the stairs to a flat where they briefly meet the object of their desire before dutifully signing his guest book on the way out. The man they came to see is the suave Lothario who will try to mentor the socially awkward teacher living downstairs in the "knack" of seducing women. As so often happens in situations like this, they will eventually end up competing for the affections of the same intriguing ingénue.

This may sound like an overused cliché likely to result in a formulaic romantic comedy, but director Richard Lester gives us something very different as he presents the story through a combination of exaggerated caricatures, fantasy sequences and zany metaphors. The result is that we are not so much interested in the details of the story as we are in the fun we have reaching the inevitable conclusion and the social commentary we encounter along the way.

Created in 1965, Lester makes a hefty contribution to the creation of a frenetic visual style of comedy which will be imitated with great commercial success throughout the rest of the decade (think "Laugh-In"). With its mod styling, rapid-fire editing, non sequiturs and wacky antics, Lester effectively uses this style to provide some wickedly clever parody of early 1960s sexism, conformity and consumerism.

The film is unfortunately not without some serious flaws. The comic style which may have seemed fresh and exciting at the time has not aged well. The good-natured mood of the film robs the social commentary of any punch or staying power, as does the failure to integrate it into a unifying framework. Also, the four main characters may be wonderfully portrayed with excellent comic acting, but only one of them is scripted such that he ever becomes human enough for us to care what happens to him, something which is essential in a story that is entirely about the relationships between the main characters.

One may find this to be a very enjoyable and memorable film in spite of these flaws, but it clearly requires that you recognize how to accept what it attempts to offer rather than criticizing it for what it doesn't deliver. I'd also think that it's a valuable film for anyone interested in the 1960s mass media image of a mostly mythical swinging London and in the trends influencing popular entertainment during that time period.


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