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The Killing of Sister George (1968)

X | | Drama | 16 December 1968 (USA)
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... See full summary »

Director:

Robert Aldrich

Writers:

Frank Marcus (from the play by), Lukas Heller (screenplay)
Reviews
Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. See more awards »

Photos

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Beryl Reid ... June Buckridge
Susannah York ... Alice 'Childie' McNaught
Coral Browne ... Mercy Croft
Ronald Fraser ... Leo Lockhart
Patricia Medina ... Betty Thaxter
Hugh Paddick Hugh Paddick ... Freddie
Cyril Delevanti ... Ted Baker
Sivi Aberg Sivi Aberg ... Diana
William Beckley ... Floor Manager
Elaine Church Elaine Church ... Marlene
Brendan Dillon ... Bert Turner
Mike Freeman Mike Freeman ... Noel
Maggie Paige Maggie Paige ... Maid
Jack Raine ... Deputy Commissioner
Dolly Taylor Dolly Taylor ... Tea Lady
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Storyline

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 <bakerjp@unix.lancs.ac.uk>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The story of three consenting adults in the privacy of their own home.

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

X | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

16 December 1968 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Das Doppelleben der Sister George See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The huge success of The Dirty Dozen (1967) the year before had given director Robert Aldrich the opportunity to set up Aldrich & Associates. This gave him the freedom to pursue more challenging and stimulating subject matter, of which "The Killing of Sister George" was the first example. See more »

Quotes

Mercy Croft: It so happens that your death will coincide with road safety week, a cause which we know is very close to your heart.
See more »

Crazy Credits

During the opening credits, the picture distractingly flips from left to right as the main character travels through claustrophobia-inducing alleyways. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In: Episode #3.4 (1969) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A scabrous "comedy" about the ugliness of human longing.
13 November 2007 | by reviewerinoimdbinoSee all my reviews

While there is delicate humor here, as in the movie's satire on the twee reassurances and stereotyping of an English soap opera's portrayal of homely English village life, this movie is in the end an unsettling portrait of the human condition, of the ugliness, the uncontrollable and incendiary nature of our sexual and emotional longings and need.

I spent years wanting to see this movie, if only because of its legendary nature and Coral Browne's presence in the cast, and it's nothing like what I imagined. Given the title and all the talk in books about scenes set in a dark and intense demimondaine world of lesbian bars, I pictured some sort of police procedural about lesbians being killed by a serial killer, a Sidney Sheldon-type story.

Ostensibly a portrait of an aging actress's dying career, the heart of the picture is the competition among the characters for love, for the ruthless quest for success and the money and companionship that go with it.

There is constant sado-masochistic emotional gamesmanship here, with characters playing roles that are alternately passive and active. One character pretends to be not much more than a slip of a girl and sits by and watches as others compete for her attentions.

The sex scene in the movie, while ugly in the extreme, is vital to the film's message. (I'm amazed that this aired, even late at night, on Turner Classic Movies, so that I, thankfully, got a chance to see the movie.) Coral Browne's face, stripped of its mask of demure self-possession, exposing the animal (the monster?) that we all are at the core of our being--that's something to see. And unsettling.

I'll never particularly care for Susannah York. She'll always strike me as a bit of an over-praised, over-successful relic of the 1960s, a kind of prissy relic, but what a film, even with some longeurs. And the towering--both literally and figuratively--Coral Browne: what a presence.


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