The Killing of Sister George (1968)
as June 'George' Buckridge
as Alice 'Childie' McNaught
as Mercy Croft
as Leo Lockhart
as Betty Thaxter
as Ted Baker
as Floor Manager
as Bert Turner
as Deputy Commissioner
as Mr. Katz
as Mrs. Coote
as Jack Adams
Critic Reviews for The Killing of Sister George
Robert Aldrich's "daring" 1968 mating of lesbianism and commerce was, as I recall, considered pretty tame even then; lord knows what it looks like today.
It's Beryl Reid and Susannah York drifting dismasted towards caricature.
Aldrich's film endures not because it's an example of bad, pre-Stonewall homo images but because of its sly way of celebrating.
Because of its outre subject of lesbianism and one sexually graphic scene, Aldrich's well acted, lurid melodrama was slapped with X-rating upon its release.
Melodrama, slapstick, romance, exploitation, and psychological horror all vie for dominance throughout the film, giving it an air of fickle, feminine hysteria, which the graphic sex scene at the end of the film makes still more difficult to pin down.
Audience Reviews for The Killing of Sister George
An outstanding performance by Beryl Reid, she is not afraid to show her character as an at times rather unpleasant and selfish woman but still very human and makes you feel for her plight, is the highlight of this landmark film with very good support from Susannah York and Coral Browne. Dated and sometimes drawn out still worth seeing for the lead performers.
"Not all girls are raving bloody lesbians you know" "That is a misfortune I'm perfectly well aware of"
"A flawed credible cow!?"
"Mooo... mooo!... MOOO!!"
I do love the lesbians in The Killing of Sister George. By today's standards they may seem extremely non-pc - you couldn't say they were sympathetic characterisations by any stretch - self-destructive diesel-dyke and child-like lipstick dipstick - not to mention Coral Browne's positively vampiric predator! Despite this, in it's own antiquated way, they are still believable and their tragic existence is quite moving.
But, as we have come to expect from Aldrich, there are plenty of scraps and campery - Beryl Reid and Coral Browne positively lick their lips - Browne, at one point, calling Reid a "dreary, inadequate, drunken old bag" and Reid rounding off a fight and telling Browne "Why don't you piss off?"
A particular highlight, for me at least, is the outrageous sex-scene. It's gob-smacking: filmed like a scene from a Hammer film, as Coral Browne bares down on Susannah York like a vampire - coal-black eye make-up, blood red lips and dress and creepy insinuating violins on the soundtrack. It's wonderfully gothic and totally inappropriate for a sex scene. It's one of the many reasons I cherish this film!
If you are looking for a touching and poignant portrayal of lesbian love then go search out the marvellous and much under-rated Desert Hearts. But if you want more of the same screaming camp bitchery and over-the-top performances a la Baby Jane and Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte then look no further than the melodramatic and tawdry tale of Georgie, Childie and Mercy Croft.
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