(director/writer: Wolf Rilla; cinematographer: Larry Pizer; editor: Jack Slade; music: Edwin Astley; cast: Sylvia Syms (Billa), Edward Judd (Bob Shelbourne), June Ritchie (Ginnie), William Hartnell (Dad), Sarah Lawson (Elizabeth), Francis De Wolfe (Shelbourne); Runtime: 90; MPAA Rating: PG-13; producer: Michael Luke; Optimum Home Entertainment-PAL format DVD; 1963-UK)

Gloomy black-and-white shot melodrama.

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Gloomy black-and-white shot melodrama set in London during the sixties, that’s too downbeat to be enjoyable but intelligently handles its sticky dramatic relationship set pieces. Director-writer Wolf Rilla(“Bedtime with Rosie”/”Naughty Wives”/”Cairo”) attempts to film it like a sophisticated French New Wave drama, as he covers one exhausting day in the lives of two feisty but vulnerable thirtysomething roommates. Each is filled with heartaches, and work together as nightclub hostesses. Though overwrought, the authentic sleazy West-End sex spots and actual London business locations give the pic a look of authenticity.

Ginnie (June Ritchie) is a saucy seductive extrovert who is having an affair with the conflicted wealthy property businessman Bob Shelbourne Jr. ( Edward Judd), someone always uptight and suffering from big-time daddy issues. Bob’s locked into a loveless marriage with his attractive trophy wife Liz (Sarah Lawson), who allows him to play the field during their civilized separation. Anxious about being under his imperious dad’s (Francis De Wolfe) thumb, Bob tries to be his own man by running away with his tart girlfriend Ginnie despite his dad’s opposition. Billa (Sylvia Syms) is Ginnie’s jaded roommate, who is the troubled daughter of an old-fashioned widow country schoolmaster (William Hartnell). Her academic but uncommunicative Pop disgusts her because he never listens, and his visit to London for the day only makes her more depressed. She can’t even find the opportunity to tell him she’s pregnant and all the other things that bother her. Tensions rise when Bob tries to convince Ginnie to run away with him to start life anew in the Bahamas, as Billa fears she might be losing her security blanket friend to someone else.

Sylvia Syms stands out for her emotional performance, especially in the scenes with her unsupportive dad.

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