My Movies: Day 5

A Taste of Honey, 1961

I am not sure when I first saw this film but I doubt that it was in 1961, when I am certain that it would have been considered inappropriate for a girl of the age that I was then, It must have been later, and on the television, that I saw it. If I had to guess, maybe 1964 or 1965.

A ground-breaking British film from the Realism school. What was known back then as a Kitchen Sink Drama – something we seemed to excel at during the early Sixties. Rita Tushingham was an untrained unknown – quoted as saying that her only previous acting experience was as the back legs of a horse. She did a cracking job.

The film centres on subjects not often depicted in film in those days – broken family, teenage illegitimate pregnancy. alcoholism and homosexuality. It is absorbing but also uncomfortable.

What was the impact on me I find it difficult to say. A sensitive teen at that time, I certainly felt for both Jo and Geoff. It may have marked the beginnings of my sympathies with homosexuals/coloured my perspective. I also remember loathing Jo’s mum (played by Dora Bryan). Perhaps if I rewatched now I might have more empathy with her.

Given the topics covered in the film it would be difficult to remain unaffected, Perhaps that is all the explanation required.

One thing that has occurred to me after doing some reading around on this film is that it might have been that it spoke to me because it treated women very differently to most films of that era. I have noted something of a feminist theme coming through my viewing – though I am sure that was never intentional.

Director: The film was directed by Tony Richardson (father of Natasha and Joely) and upon investigation it appears that he is one of My Directors and is responsible for a number of films that I intend to include in this list.

Directed byTony Richardson
Produced byTony Richardson
Screenplay byShelagh Delaney
Tony Richardson
Based onA Taste of Honey
by Shelagh Delaney
StarringDora Bryan
Robert Stephens
Murray Melvin
Paul Danquah
Rita Tushingham
Music byJohn Addison
CinematographyWalter Lassally

No 56 on the BFI Top 100.

Wikipedia | IMDB

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One Comment

  1. […] for the gritty realism of British 1960s Kitchen Sink dramas and Director Tony Richardson. As for A Taste of Honey, I have no clear memory of when I first saw this film but it would certainly have been on […]

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