Poor Cow (1967)
Poor Cow (1967)
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Critic Reviews for Poor Cow
An argument can certainly be made for sex in movies that try to approach seriously the problems of the young; and this one, which begins so frankly with maternity, seems to have become quite nervous about things physical right after the credits came on.
In the end, the few good moments (as when the girl tends bar, cares for her child and shares confidences with Terence Stamp) are lost in the mess of everything else.
Despite its scruffy scene and downhill theme, Poor Cow is not really another of England's angry proletarian tragedies. The film tells its story with humanity that is never sentimental and humor that never jokes.
Not a patch upon Loach's best work, largely because he falls into all the usual traps of kitchen sink realism.
Kenneth Loach uses an improvisatory technique in all this, and it largely works. Thesps were given the gist and trend of the dialog, and permitted to embroider it with their own words.
Audience Reviews for Poor Cow
Interesting older movie. Main character, Joy, manages to be equally sympathetic and unlikeable! You watch this girl make one bad choice after another, yet the consequences aren't quite as bad as you are waiting for. In one way it is good, she is a stupid girl, but you can't seriously wish bad on her, even when she kind of deserves it. On the other, you wait for a culmination of her actions which doesn't quite pay off. I guess it is lifelike in that way.
On a shallow note, I enjoyed the 60's hair and make up. Very glam too look at, even though the story was definitely not!
Director Ken Loach's first feature is an insightful but somewhat shapeless portrait of a vivacious young woman (Carol White) struggling to raise a baby in a dingy English neighborhood. Within the opening minutes, her husband is sent to prison after a bungled robbery. She soon latches onto a second man (Terence Stamp) but, unfortunately, he too has been pressed into a life of crime. He is more sensitive to her needs but also is sentenced before long, which means Stamp fans may be frustrated with his lack of screen time. From there, our heroine takes a job in a rowdy pub, dabbles in cheesecake modeling and tries to fill her relationship void with casual lovers. There is no moral lesson here -- this is just how a woman on her own manages to stay afloat. The story fades out inconclusively.
Donovan provides a few tunes for the soundtrack (Stamp himself sings "Colours"), and various other pop songs are heard throughout -- almost as if a crew member's transistor radio is randomly playing in the background. The effect is a bit ragged, and further shaky elements include the girl's sporadic narration, an odd decision to close with a documentary-style interview and some awkward title cards that rarely add useful information. The lighting often seems too warm and pleasing for the story's gritty tone, but an initial childbirth scene and an overgenerous amount of toddler nudity add some controversy.
"Poor Cow" usually gets lumped with its era's "kitchen-sink" movement, but there are much better examples of the genre to seek out.
Very intriguing Loach film with young Terence Stamp. Probably its use of pop music was pretty innovative in its day. Austere portrait of working class girl, who doesn't have much of a future.
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