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Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Woman In A Dressing Gown (1957)

A rather slovenly working class housewife (Yvonne Mitchell) is content with her lot in life. In love with her husband (Anthony Quayle) and proud of her son (Andrew Ray), everything seems good. What she can't see is that her husband is unhappy in their marriage and in love with a younger woman (Sylvia Syms). Unless you're a Streep or a Nicholson, most working actors work to pay the bills and are lucky if they get that one role "of a lifetime" as it were. You may never get another great part again but you have that one performance and no one can ever take that away from you. The role of Amy Preston is Yvonne Mitchell's one great role and she is amazing! It's a part that some actresses would have done and gone all actress-y on us but Mitchell hits all the right notes (she won the best actress award at the Berlin film festival for her work here). She's touching, she's funny, she's annoying, she's real. The forerunner of all those British kitchen sink dramas like LOOK BACK IN ANGER and SATURDAY NIGHT AND SUNDAY MORNING, the director J. Lee Thompson (THE GUNS OF NAVARONE) gives us a gritty look at a working class marriage and how when our dreams never materialize, we still hope. I'm not sure how I feel about the film's ending. On one level, it seems like a total cop out but given the nature of its characters, it seems inevitable. With Carole Lesley and Marianne Stone.

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