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Georgy Girl

Georgy Girl(1966)

Remind Me

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A fondly remembered cinema artifact redolent of Swinging '60s London, Georgy Girl (1966), has finally surfaced on DVD courtesy of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. While this sprightly comedy of morals was considered fairly daring in its era, time has rendered certain of its aspects somewhat quaint, but the engaging performances by the principals have lost none of their appeal.

As co-scripted by Margaret Forster from her novel, the heroine of the piece, Georgina Parkin (Lynn Redgrave), is a twentysomething virgin; a tad dumpy, a titch dowdy, but full of an insouciant charm. Her days are spent leading pre-schoolers in dance classes within the millionaire's manse where her domestic parents (Bill Owen, Claire Kelly) are employed. From there, she retreats cross town to the squalid flat she shares with Meredith (Charlotte Rampling), a strikingly gorgeous and very promiscuous orchestra violinist, who's all too willing to leave Georgy in the lurch at the promise of a cute guy and a good time. It's a workable enough arrangement, until the day Meredith announces she's pregnant, and offhandedly decides that she'll go to term and marry her steady, the boisterous bank clerk and failed flautist Jos (Alan Bates).

Georgy's circumstances get even more dicey once her folks' employer, Mr. Leamington (James Mason), decides that he wants to move past the fatherly affection that he's lavished upon her for a lifetime, and formally take her on as a mistress, right down to having a written agreement drawn up. While trying to keep Leamington at arm's length, she strives to badger Meredith and Jos into preparing for responsibilities that neither are equipped to handle. Angered by the cruelty with which Meredith lashes out in response, Jos finds himself taken with Georgy's compassion, ultimately following through on his flirtatious teasing and declaring his love for her. With the baby girl's arrival, Georgy lavishes her with the affection not forthcoming from the indifferent Meredith or the immature Jos, and ultimately winds up with a surprising plan to ensure the child's welfare.

In accepting a role that her sister Vanessa had passed on, Redgrave rendered a career-making effort, with a charming and sympathetic performance that spoke to those many Plain Janes that felt they had been declared 4F for the Sexual Revolution. The serviceable Mason does what he can with a role that probably read as cheeky back then, but comes off as something less than savory today. Bates brought a font of restless animal energy to the oddly endearing Jos, displayed to it fullest in the signature scene where he chases Georgy through the London streets, threatening to strip until she hears him out. In her film debut, Rampling registered well between her Vogue-cover presence and Meredith's frankly chilling displays of selfishness.

The narrative received a straightforward handling from the Canadian director Silvio Narizzano (Die! Die! My Darling), whose approach here came off as a slightly more serene Richard Lester, and resulted in his most celebrated effort. We'd be remiss if we didn't mention that infectious rendition of the title tune by the Seekers that was so ubiquitous back in the day.

There isn't much room for complaint regarding the clean mastering job that SPHE did with the image, presented in its 1.78:1 theatrical aspect ratio. What's regrettable is the complete dearth of extras, which are limited to a Japanese subtitles option and sundry unrelated trailers.

For more information about Georgy Girl, visit Sony Home Entertainment. To order Georgy Girl, go to TCM Shopping.

by Jay S. Steinberg