Negatives (1968)

Negatives (1968)

“You’re as perverted as she is.”

When a meek antiques shop owner (Peter McEnery) and his shrewish wife (Glenda Jackson) meet a bold German photographer (Diane Cilento), their odd marriage gets even stranger.

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • Glenda Jackson Films
  • Love Triangle
  • Marital Problems
  • S&M

Just before her breakthrough role in Women in Love (1969), Glenda Jackson co-starred in this directorial debut by Peter Medak, an odd marital thriller based on a 1961 novel by Peter Everett. Jackson’s screen-husband (McEnery) is likely most recognizable to GFTFF fans as the titular character in Entertaining Mr. Sloane (1970), while odd Cilento is best known for her Oscar-nominated supporting performance in Tom Jones (1963), as a boarding house manager in Hombre (1967), and as a librarian in The Wicker Man (1973). From the opening scenes, we can tell that Jackson and McEnery’s marriage is a decidedly unusual one: he dresses up as the Edwardian wife-killer Hawley Harvey Crippen (who I’ll admit to not having heard of before):

… though it turns out his wife is really the driving force behind this kink.

Suddenly another woman (Cilento) comes into the picture, seemingly as a sexual distraction for McEnery:

… though that’s ultimately debatable, as are most of the twists and turns along the way. By the times get undeniably weird:

… we’ve almost stopped wondering what logic lies behind any of it. To the film’s credit, it held my attention throughout — but that doesn’t necessarily mean it coheres.

Notable Performances, Qualities, and Moments:

  • Ken Hodges’ cinematography

Must See?
No, but it’s worth a one-time look if you’re curious. Listed as a Cult Movie in the back of Peary’s book.


One thought on “Negatives (1968)

  1. First viewing (7/7/22). Skip it.

    Boring, pretentious, ultimately pointless. Ugh.

    As I mentioned in my response to the less-than-successful ‘The Changeling’, director Medak would fare much better (and show real talent) later with ‘The Ruling Class’ and several other notable flicks. (He would bounce between movies and television – where he continues primarily to work today.)

    Sidebar: The Crippen story was filmed in 1963 (as ‘Dr. Crippen’). Decidedly creepy, it’s still a better film than ‘Negatives’ (as *many* films are), bolstered by the performances by Donald Pleasance, Coral Browne and Samantha Eggar.

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