EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?
|L-SHAPED ROOM (director/writer: Bryan Forbes; screenwriter: from the novel Lynne Reid Banks; cinematographer: Douglas Slocombe; editor: Anthony Harvey; music: John Barry; cast: Leslie Caron (Jane Fosset), Brock Peters (Johnny), Tom Bell (Toby), Cicely Courtneiege (Mavis), Avis Bunnage (Doris, landlady), Bernard Lee (Charlie), Patricia Phoenix (Sonia), Gerry Duggan (Bert), Emlyn Williams (Dr. Weaver); Runtime: 125; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: James Woolf/Richard Attenborough; Columbia; 1962-UK)|
|"Caron's heartfelt, out of
type, performance as the lonely lady in trouble,
makes the sensitive pic, a mixture of muddle and
by Dennis Schwartz
and turgid, but well-made and mature treatment of
melodrama for the early 1960s. It was treated by the
public, at the time, as sensationalist. British New
Wave filmmaker Bryan Forbes ("Whistling Down
the Wind"/"King Rat"/"Seance on a Wet afternoon")
directs and writes a realistic kitchen sink modern
urban drama based on the novel by Lynne Reid
Banks. It was shot in black-and-white.
The virgin 27-year-old
Frenchwoman, Jane Fosset (Leslie Caron), leaves her
parents' provincial home and moves to London. She
spends a weekend having casual sex with an unemployed
actor and later discovers she's pregnant. Frustrated
and without much bread, Jane rents a squalid L-shaped room in a seedy
Notting Hill boardinghouse from the abrasive landlady
(Avis Bunnage). The low-class lodgers
include a screwed-up gay West Indian black jazz
musician (Brock Peters); the jazz man's best pal
Toby (Tom Bell), an unpublished failed writer who will
write the ensuing titled story; an elderly, lesbian,
retired, vaudeville actress named Mavis (Cicely Courtneiege); and a few colorful
prostitutes like Sonia (Patricia Phoenix).
Jane begins a steamy affair
with Toby and hides her pregnancy in fear of losing
him, but the jealous Johnny meddles and tells his boy
that his lady has been knocked up by another. Toby
splits, unable to stomach he's not the father. The
despondent Jane goes to an oily mercenary gynecologist
(Emlyn Williams), and then after deciding to keep the child
decides to abort by taking an overdose of pills given
her by Mavis. That fails. Jane then accepts her fate
and gives birth. Toby returns, but is unable to accept
the child. But he lays on Jane a copy of his first
complete book. Jane returns to France and will try to
find a happy ending to her story.
Caron's heartfelt, out of type, performance as the lonely lady in trouble, makes the sensitive pic, a mixture of muddle and insight, watchable.
REVIEWED ON 7/16/2013 GRADE: B-
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ