GEORGY GIRL(director: Silvio Narizzano; screenwriters: novel by Margaret Forster/Margaret Forster/Peter Nichols; cinematographer: Kenneth Higgins; editor: John Bloom; music: Alexander Faris/Tom Springfield; cast: Lynn Redgrave (Georgy Parkin), Alan Bates (Jos Jones), James Mason (James Leamington), Charlotte Rampling (Meredith), Bill Owen (Ted Parkin), Clare Kelly (Doris Parkin), Rachel Kempson (Ellen Leamington); Runtime: 99; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Robert A. Goldston/Otto Plaschkes; Columbia; 1967-UK)
“An empty film posing as something more substantial.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
The hit theme song sung by The Seekers tells in a nutshell the whole bittersweet story of Georgy Girl. Director Silvio Narizzano (“Blue”/”Loot”/”Fanatic”) sets the comedy/drama sexual shocker in the ‘Swinging London’ of the 1960s, in the midst of the ‘Sexual Revolution.’ It’s based on the novel by Margaret Forster and cowritten by Forster and Peter Nichols. Though considered bold at the time of its theater release, by today’s standards it’s tame and outdated. Also it relies too heavily on its shocks over promiscuity, its glibness and self-professed cleverness. In reality, it’s not much more than the fashion of the day–an empty film posing as something more substantial. Thanks to the splendid performances of the stars, the comedy of manners at least still retains enough bite, charm and comedy to get over as light entertainment.
Georgy Parkin (Lynn Redgrave) is a 22-year-old kindhearted but low self-esteemed, unattractive, overweight dance teacher, who has never been kissed. She’s living with her popular bitchy attractive concert playing violinist roommate Meredith (Charlotte Rampling), who takes pleasure constantly putting her down as a loser. The amoral and cynical Meredith is an unapologetic hedonist, who doesn’t give a damn about anyone else.
The married wealthy 49-year-old employer of Georgy’s servant parents, James Leamington (James Mason), who always looked fondly with paternal interest on the servant’s daughter, suddenly finds himself attracted to Georgy and asks her to sign a business contract to be his mistress.
Shortly afterward, the unmarried Meredith becomes pregnant. The father is one of her many boyfriends, the playful and irresponsible Jos (Alan Bates). He’s a flautist who works in a bank, but at heart is a slacker. Though Meredith aborted two of her other pregnancies, on a whim she decides to have the child and marry Jos. Georgy stays on in the flat as cook and housekeeper. During a bitter row between the trio in the cramped flat, Meredith leaves and Georgy and Jos kiss. It results in them falling in love.
When Meredith has her baby girl, she has a fit over being a mum and frets about from now on always being bothered caring for the brat. So she lets hubby, who is living with Georgy, keep the baby. Georgy radiantly glows in her new motherhood role. When the immature Jos decides this domestic scene isn’t his cup of tea, he splits. But Mr. Leamington saves day, as his nagging, sickly wife Ellen dies and the widow asks Georgy to marry him and if she accepts promises to adopt the child. Leamington now also has the child he always wanted, but wonders if having the child was a wise decision. It might not be true love on her part but the manipulative Georgy, who can only be fulfilled by motherhood, ruthlessly gets what she wants, as she marries a clueless millionaire who thinks with his penis.
REVIEWED ON 3/23/2009 GRADE: B-
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
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