Romantic Englishwoman, The (1975)

Romantic Englishwoman, The (1975)

“If I’m going to write him in, I hope to find out what he’s about.”

While his wife (Glenda Jackson) is away in Baden Baden, a jealous writer (Michael Caine) imagines she’s having an affair with a mysterious man (Helmut Berger) she’s met on the elevator. Soon Berger inexplicably shows up at their house in England, and Caine’s jealousy continues to grow.

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • Glenda Jackson Films
  • Infidelity
  • Jealousy
  • Joseph Losey Films
  • Love Triangle
  • Michael Caine Films
  • Writers

This disappointing romantic mystery (directed by Joseph Losey) fails to provide much enjoyment on any level. Glenda Jackson is at her shrill worst as a dissatisfied housewife whose husband suspects her every move:

… Caine is adequate at best, and Berger is inexplicably stiff as a shady character whose motivations are never fully explained.

The entire story is framed as a sort of “what’s real? what’s not?” exploration, with Caine’s attempt to generate grist for his new novel conveniently propelling the action — but the central problem is that we simply don’t care much about any of these characters or their affairs of the heart.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Fine production values

Must See?
No; this is definitely one of Losey’s lesser efforts, and not worth seeking out. Listed as a Cult Movie in the back of Peary’s book.


3 thoughts on “Romantic Englishwoman, The (1975)

  1. Not a must. Not a maybe. Not a chance.

    Assorted thoughts and feelings while watching:
    …Will it ever get off the ground?!
    …Good grief. This is ju–zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.
    …Oh, great – Jackson ‘being’ seduced in an elevator by an actor who could never be believable as straight.
    …Oh, yeah, and Caine is jealous and zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.
    …And the pacing is zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.
    …Oh, do get on with it!
    …Oh, what’s this?: Jackson strips down lickety-split to make love with Caine on the lawn by the light of the moon! …Well, that was brief. Thank God.
    …Let’s see: a film on the fiery subject of jealousy that just lies there in ash.
    …And keeps getting talkier.
    …Oh! and there’s a touch of comedy. A touch.
    …I keep seeing the words ‘The End’ in my mind’s eye. Sadly, not on the screen.
    …Caine and Jackson are supposed to be in love? They’re not even in like.
    …Oh, good Lord, there’s another HOUR of this crap?! Thank God for the fast-forward button.

    Didn’t like it first time out either. Total waste of time, this.

  2. Am I to take it that you were having a hard time staying awake during this one? 😉 Joseph Losey is such an odd-duck director — I find myself drawn towards his stuff, but it’s actually rather hit-and-miss (as this clunker clearly shows).

  3. Generally speaking, I tend to gravitate toward odd-duck directors. However! By my count, I’ve seen about 15 Losey films and most of them I have a hard time recalling clearly; tho I recall feeling annoyed, esp. by pacing. ‘The Boy With Green Hair’ is an excellent film (and hardly in keeping with Losey’s later trademark style). I’d have to revisit a few that might hold up well (perhaps ‘The Servant’, ‘The Go-Between’, ‘A Doll’s House’) but I don’t like the way he tries the viewer’s patience.

    Thanks to my trusty remote this time, I wasn’t having a hard time staying awake through this exercise in pointlessness. But – Tom Stoppard’s whisper of wit notwithstanding, it has strong potential as a soporific.

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