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George lives with her lover, Childie and plays a cheerful district nurse in a BBC soap opera. However, her character is to be killed off, and George realises that the only other job she can get is the voice of a cow in a children's tv programme. Her life begins to fall apart as Childie has an affair with a predatory tv producer. Written by
Paul Baker <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I don't give many movies 10/10, but this black comedy-drama gets my vote, for fine acting, production values, and of course its place in movie history in the frank portrayal of lesbian relationships.
Others have & will comment on the latter, so I'll point out some of the other aspects of this fine film. The combination of comedy with personal tragedy poses difficult problems both for the writer & director; here they both succeed brilliantly.
The three principals' performances are riveting. I particularly liked the ambiguity of Coral Brown's portrayal of Mercy Croft; watch her carefully in the tight closeups in the gay club, and notice how the down-turned mouth at times hides a hint of a self-satisfied smile.
The cinematography deserves special mention. The use of colour is beautiful; I was reminded of "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg", but it never steps over the line into unreality. On the contrary, the alleys of London, the TV studio and above all the stairs and corridor of the flat are supremely realistic. Most unusual is the use of chiaroscuro, the interplay of light-and-shadow, seldom seen outside of black & white films. In so many colour films the light appears to come from some amorphous omnidirectional source out of science fiction; great for lighting everything and everybody evenly, but unrealistic and DULL. Look at the shadows as Beryl Reid ('George') enters the apartment building and climbs the stairs, or in some of the bedroom scenes. Apart from its other many virtues, this movie held my attention as a fine piece of film-making.
All in all, a masterpiece; my one regret is that it was shown on TV in pan-and-scan. It IS now available in DVD - in several formats & regions
so I look forward to watching it again in its original form.
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