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Friday, August 26, 2011

The Knack ...And How To Get It (1965)

A sexually frustrated school teacher (Michael Crawford) asks his womanizing lodger (Ray Brooks) to teach him how to get "the knack" for getting girls. A quirky young man (Donal Donnelly) with a penchant for painting walls moves in without being asked and a girl (Rita Tushingham) newly arrived in London and looking for the YWCA completes the foursome. Definitely a relic of the swinging 60s London scene and while it may seem dated (a comedic rape scene may have been amusing in 1965 but it plays uncomfortably in 2011), the puns and visual gags of director Richard Lester are still humorous. Lester's only sin is that he's clearly trying too hard which gives the film the an unnecessary air of desperation which takes away from the film's intended breezy nature. The players are quite good. Crawford has a knack (pun intended) for physical comedy which he displays here, Tushingham has a wonderful open face and Brooks and Donnelly perfectly cast. The crisp B&W lensing is courtesy of Oscar winner David Watkin (OUT OF AFRICA) and the marvelous score by John Barry. The film took the Palme D'Or at the 1965 Cannes film festival. Look carefully and you'll find Jacqueline Bisset, Charlotte Rampling and Jane Birkin among the many lovelies populating the screen.

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