HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Supernova
Man Who Sold His Skin, The
Sweetheart
No Man of God
Gaia
Oliver Sacks: His Own Life
Scenes with Beans
Sweat
Quiet Place Part II, A
Nobody
Prisoners of the Ghostland
Duel to the Death
Mandibles
Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands
Yakuza Princess
Djinn, The
New Order
Triggered
Claw
Original Cast Album: Company
Martyrs Lane
Paper Tigers, The
Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, The
Hall
ParaPod: A Very British Ghost Hunt, The
Collini Case, The
Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard
Snake Girl and the Silver-Haired Witch, The
Superhost
Plan A
When I'm a Moth
Tigers Are Not Afraid
Misha and the Wolves
Yellow Cat
Shorta
Knocking
Bloodthirsty
When the Screaming Starts
Sweetie, You Won't Believe It
Lions Love
   
 
Newest Articles
On the Right Track: Best of British Transport Films Vol. 2
The Guns of Nutty Joan: Johnny Guitar on Blu-ray
Intercourse Between Two Worlds: Twin Peaks Fire Walk with Me/The Missing Pieces on Blu-ray
Enjoy the Silents: Early Universal Vol. 1 on Blu-ray
Masterful: The Servant on Blu-ray
70s Sitcom Dads: Bless This House and Father Dear Father on Blu-ray
Going Under: Deep Cover on Blu-ray
Child's Play: Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box Vol. 3 on DVD
Poetry and Motion: Great Noises That Fill the Air on DVD
Too Much to Bear: Prophecy on Blu-ray
Truth Kills: Blow Out on Blu-ray
A Monument to All the Bullshit in the World: 1970s Disaster Movies
Take Care with Peanuts: Interview with Melissa Menta (SVP of Marketing)
Silent is Golden: Futtocks End... and Other Short Stories on Blu-ray
Winner on Losers: West 11 on Blu-ray
Freewheelin' - Bob Dylan: Odds and Ends on Digital
Never Sleep: The Night of the Hunter on Blu-ray
Sherlock vs Ripper: Murder by Decree on Blu-ray
That Ol' Black Magic: Encounter of the Spooky Kind on Blu-ray
She's Evil! She's Brilliant! Basic Instinct on Blu-ray
Hong Kong Dreamin': World of Wong Kar Wai on Blu-ray
Buckle Your Swash: The Devil-Ship Pirates on Blu-ray
Way of the Exploding Fist: One Armed Boxer on Blu-ray
A Lot of Growing Up to Do: Fast Times at Ridgemont High on Blu-ray
Oh My Godard: Masculin Feminin on Blu-ray
   
 
  Woman in a Dressing Gown On The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown
Year: 1957
Director: J. Lee Thompson
Stars: Yvonne Mitchell, Anthony Quayle, Sylvia Syms, Andrew Ray, Carole Lesley, Michael Ripper, Nora Gordon, Marianne Stone, Olga Lindo, Harry Locke, Max Butterfield, Roberta Woolley, Melvyn Hayes
Genre: DramaBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: As far as Amy (Yvonne Mitchell) is concerned, she has a happy home life running around after her husband Jim (Anthony Quayle) and son Brian (Andrew Ray); as long as the radio is on blaring her music what does it matter that she's burned the toast, spilled the tea, hasn't done the ironing, and spends her days in her dressing gown haphazardly going about her domestic duties? But after twenty or so years of this, she hasn't noticed her husband is growing dissatisfied with his lot, and the reason he keeps going out even at the weekends is not work-related at all...

Woman in a Dressing Gown some would have you believe was one of the first kitchen sink melodramas, yet actually there was a tradition of "realistic" drama in Britain going back a while, it's just that most of them were not particularly enduring in the public consciousness, even the ones which were hits. When writer Ted Willis penned the teleplay for this he might not have been an angry young man, but he was tapping into a spirit of the era where such authenticity was becoming something of a movement, proving you didn't have to be Keith Waterhouse or Alan Sillitoe to create a piece which would resonate with the ordinary viewer who watched this and recognised it.

It's just that as this play's origins on the small screen indicated, there was a definitely more contained tone to the proceedings which would perhaps unavoidably be linked to television, meaning that unless there was an element to render this more cinematic with location shooting, frank language and an attitude towards sex which pushed at censorship boundaries as would be occurring mere months later, it was the box in the corner which seemed best suited to stories such as this. But the movies were still competing with their household rival, and one way to do so was to plunder what had been a hit there in the hope that audiences would flock to see the same thing in their local fleapits.

Watching Woman in a Dressing Gown now, you can well see the reasons it made such an impression on TV viewers, but if you had watched that original broadcast you would probably not lose much by not seeing the film version. Luckily for us, it was that which made the work endure, as we would be unlikely to see it otherwise, lucky because it offered an intriguing insight into fifties Briain and women's place in it as Jim is torn between his more traditional housewife who calls him Jimbo, and the more modern career girl who calls him Preston, his surname. That's right, he's having an affair with his prim and tidy secretary Georgie (Sylvia Syms), who is portrayed no less sympathetically than Amy.

That's not to say we are not aware of each woman's drawbacks and flaws, but we can perceive how they both offer something for Jim that he cannot get with her rival. It's Amy who is the main focus, a woman who you quickly understand has grown quite demented by her drudgery and her methods of denying the fact that life has ground her down into this manic state where she refuses to see the piles of washing up or those overcooked meals are a sign that she needs to shake herself and take a good look at where she has ended up. When the penny drops and she is facing losing her husband she goes into overdrive trying to make things perfect to force Jim to see what he's giving up, and the film lays her incapability on pretty thick - new hairdo drenched in the rain (no umbrella?), bottle of whisky for Jim drunk by herself in one go, that sort of thing. Amy is patently on the verge of cracking up completely, and probably needs Jim more than Georgie does, but whether that makes for a satisfying ending or not is very much in the eye of the beholder.

[Studio Canal's Region 2 DVD has interviews with the producer, an academic, and Sylvia Syms along with the trailer and production stills as extras.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 2137 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

J. Lee Thompson  (1914 - 2002)

Veteran British director frequently in Hollywood, usually with stories featuring an adventure or thriller slant. Among his many films, including a number of Charles Bronson movies, are capital punishment drama Yield to the Night, adventures Ice Cold in Alex and North West Frontier, the original Cape Fear, Tiger Bay, wartime epic The Guns of Navarone, What a Way To Go!, horror Eye of the Devil, Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, Battle for the Planet of the Apes and slasher Happy Birthday to Me.

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Jason Cook
Enoch Sneed
Andrew Pragasam
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
   

 

Last Updated: