6.5/10
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Steaming (1985)

R | | Drama | 22 May 1985 (France)
Three female frequenters of a steam room decide to fight its closure.

Director:

Joseph Losey

Writers:

Robin Bextor (additional narrative), Nell Dunn (play) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Vanessa Redgrave ... Nancy
Sarah Miles ... Sarah
Diana Dors ... Violet
Patti Love ... Josie
Brenda Bruce ... Mrs. Meadows
Felicity Dean ... Dawn Meadows
Sally Sagoe Sally Sagoe ... Celia
Anna Tzelniker Anna Tzelniker ... Mrs. Goldstein
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Storyline

Three female frequenters of a steam room decide to fight its closure.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A film about self-discovery and triumph based on the popular play. See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

22 May 1985 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

A Sauna See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$3,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

World Film Services See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Stereo

Color:

Color
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to 'Time Out', '[Director Joseph] Losey was 73 and dying of cancer when he returned from France to make this...adaptation of Nell Dunn's stage success." See more »

Connections

Referenced in Home and Away: Episode #1.1047 (1992) See more »

Soundtracks

Steaming
Music by Richard Harvey
Lyrics by Robin Bextor (as Robin Ellis-Bextor)
Performed by Stephanie De Sykes
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Fine Farewell from Losey, Dors, Challis
29 November 2012 | by EdgarSTSee all my reviews

Patti Love's often unbearable performance, during the first two acts of «Steaming», almost ruins Joseph Losey's final film. Nell Dunn's play decidedly must work much better on a theater stage, where the distance between the audience and the play being performed, where the sort of single frame with the same size and same gaze position that becomes the stage, and where the direct voices coming directly from actors' bodies, create conditions that make us take some poetic intimacy in the midst of the prosaic rawness of the representation, and make more tolerable sudden outbursts of intense drama out of the blue, for the simple fact of being in front of a live performances. As captured by a camera, and as set up in shots of different scales and angles, in an almost pointless intent to give some kinetic life to what is, in the end, nothing more than the filmization of a theater piece, it only stresses the artificiality of what we are watching. In compensation for this strange kind of cinematic product, there are fine and controlled performances by Vanessa Redgrave, Sarah Miles, and Brenda Bruce as clients, and Diana Dors (in her last film) as manager of an old Turkish bath in London, where regular female customers meet and exchange facts about their lives, in spite of their class differences. Love, as an amoral stripper addicted to brute men, and Felicity Dean as Bruce's teenage (and apparently mentally ill) daughter are in charge of the hysterical scenes. There is not much going on in Aristotelian terms: this is more a confessional kind of drama, where stories, emotions and morals are shared. Only when Dors breaks down as she informs that the bath is going to be demolished for the construction of an entertainment center (or mall), the action follows a more traditional structure. According to drama conventions, it is Love's Josie, the character whose change is more significant. Her performance is built on scenes where she delivers diatribes of social resentment, sexual gossips, and screeching, until the moment her character becomes the spokesperson of the group and the tone changes. In any case, even when the sense of human existence is often crushed, there is a positive and joyful sense of life that, besides the opportunity of seeing women interacting (and such a good cast playing them), makes the viewing rather amenable. It is also a respectable ending for the careers of a remarkable director, and of cinematographer Christopher Challis, both taking good advantage of the single set.


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