Georgy Girl (1966)

Georgy Girl (1966)

“If it’s the last thing I do, I’m going to get you lot organized!”

Synopsis:
When a young woman named Georgy (Lynn Redgrave) learns that her roommate (Charlotte Rampling) is going to have a baby, she and Rampling’s immature boyfriend (Alan Bates) begin preparing for the baby’s arrival; meanwhile, the wealthy man (James Mason) Georgy’s parents (Bill Owen and Clare Kelly) work for propositions her with a contract to be his mistress, which she refuses.

Genres:

Review:
Silvio Narizzano directed this “swingin’ ’60s” tale of an unconventionally quirky leading lady (Redgrave) finding her true passion in life through unexpected means. The rather dismal storyline is presented as hip and comedic: at least Redgrave has fun teaching songs to young children while her parents kowtow to a creepy older “gentleman” (Mason), her sociopathic roommate (Rampling) admits to aborting untold previous babies before finally deciding — on a whim — to keep this one (which she consistently refers to as “it”), and Bates demonstrates nothing but annoyingly “whimsical” irresponsibility. With all that said, Georgy remains an intriguing heroine: she’s someone we can’t help rooting for, especially after baby Sarah is born. It’s hard to know whether to laugh, cry, or cheer for Georgy, but she’s certainly memorable.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Lynn Redgrave as Georgy (nominated by Peary as one of the Best Actresses of the Year in his Alternate Oscars)
  • Ken Higgins’ cinematography

Must See?
No, but it’s worth a one-time look for Redgrave’s memorable performance.

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2 thoughts on “Georgy Girl (1966)

  1. A once-must, at least – for the performances (esp. Redgrave’s) and for Narizzano’s rather zesty direction.

    In British films from the late ’50s to the early/mid-’60s, we saw enough examples of the ‘angry young man’ films (things like ‘Look Back in Anger’, ‘The Entertainer’, ‘Saturday Night and Sunday Morning’, ‘Billy Liar’, etc.). Some of these films (to me, anyway) are now so clearly indulgent in their male-egocentricity that they’re unwatchable. (Some trends fade.) The tail end of this genre at least let the genre grow up, into something with a larger concern… in something like Anderson’s ‘….if’.

    But we did also get its flip side, as it picked up the rear. They weren’t necessarily ‘angry young women’ films but certainly ‘disillusioned young women’. Things like ‘A Taste of Honey’, ‘Girl with Green Eyes’, ‘Darling’, etc. – some of which are also now unwatchable.

    But ‘Georgy Girl’ has held up well. Mainly, probably, because, like its protagonist, it refuses to give up hope of survival. It has a marked ebullience in its nature that keeps it lively in cinema history. (Personally, I always enjoy revisiting it.)

    If the storyline seems “dismal”, that may be because we’re mostly watching lower-class characters who have economically depressed lives (outside of Mason, who – though well off – is unhappy).

    I’m not sure there’s enough evidence that Rampling’s role is “sociopathic” but she’s certainly monstrously vain. She’s the type of person who, because of her remarkable looks, *knows* she can get just about anything or anyone she wants… without bothering to develop traits like (ye gods!) character! (Rampling once said that she was apparently so successful at playing a cold-hearted bitch that, for awhile afterwards, that was the only kind of role she was offered.)

    Bates plays his role with more dignity than it probably deserves – he seems to be a carry-over from the ‘angry young man’ genre but, because it’s (the charming) Bates, we somehow don’t mind all that much.

    What’s most interesting about the way Mason plays his role is that he is genuinely drawn to Georgy, sexually and otherwise; he’s not just hoping to get a younger girl in order to make himself feel young – he’s smitten. When Georgy’s father puts Georgy down in his presence, Mason looks at him as if to say, ‘Are we talking about the same person?! Georgy’s gorgeous!’

    I can’t say enough nice things about Redgrave as Georgy. She makes you feel like you’d want to know her. She’s wonderfully sweet but she’s not a doormat – she can be very cunning if she’s put in a position she’s uncomfortable with. And she does a knockout job singing ‘A Whole Lot Of Woman’ (!).

  2. I only saw this for the first time recently when sent the UK Blu-ray to review for Rewind (www.dvdcompare.net).

    It’s a highly regarded film from its era but strikes me as rather minor these days. Redgrave’s performance is excellent as is indeed the whole cast, but I found her insufferable and didn’t really enjoy it.

    It’s beautifully made from top to bottom however. It seems to have maintained its classic profile so on that score a must see.

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