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Georgy Girl Movie Review

redgrave lynn mason james

1966 was a heady year for the Redgrave sisters: both Lynn and Vanessa received Academy Award nominations for Best Actress. Elizabeth Taylor won that year, but Lynn and Vanessa established secure places for themselves on the international movie map. From then on, Michael Redgrave was more likely to be referred to as their father than they were to be mentioned in footnotes as simply his daughters. In many ways, Georgy Girl was a brave gamble for 23-year-old Lynn. Although she gained weight for the role, many audiences thought that Lynn WAS the hefty Georgy, and she seldom played willowy heroines in her subsequent career. But the whole point of the movie was that a girl didn't have to be a dolly bird (like Georgy's drop-dead-gorgeous roommate Meredith) to attract men and lead a fulfilling life. When we see Georgy dancing with a group of children, we can see that she's as free as the air when she isn't worried about peer judgments. And then there's James Leamington (deftly played by James Mason, then 57) who loves Georgy exactly as she is. As the movie begins, he's too old and serious for her, but as Georgy's life takes its course, what she needs takes precedence over what she thinks she wants. Meredith (played to the hilt by 21-year-old Charlotte Rampling) is a bored, conscienceless vamp who doesn't care about Georgy or her many boyfriends and who definitely doesn't give a damn about the prospect of motherhood. When she decides not to abort her latest baby, Georgy is in heaven. Glowing with joy about the prospect of a vicarious pregnancy, she rushes around getting ready for the new arrival. In the process, she becomes desirable to Meredith's boyfriend (played by the impossibly young and sexy Alan Bates, then 32) and he falls head over heels in love with her. By that point, so has everyone in the audience, and this is what made Georgy Girl so refreshing in 1966. Georgy is beautiful for who she is, not how she looks. In contrast, the selfish Meredith seems like a flavor of the month gone sour. This simple statement, filmed in a fast-paced, irresistible style by Silvio Narizzano, gave Georgy Girl plenty of repeat value in the decades to come. Lynn Redgrave's unforgettable portrait of Georgy with her uninhibited zest for life plus the droll dirty old man captured to perfection by James Mason will still be a pleasure to watch in 2016.

1966 100m/B GB Lynn Redgrave, James Mason, Charlotte Rampling, Alan Bates, Bill Owen, Claire Kelly, Rachel Kempson, Denise Coffey, Dorothy Alison, Peggy Thorpe-Bates, Dandy Nichols; D: Silvio Narizzano; W: Margaret Forster, Peter Nichols; C: Ken Higgins. Golden Globe Awards ‘67: Best Actress—Musical/Comedy (Redgrave); New York Film Critics Awards ‘66: Best Actress (Redgrave); Nominations: Academy Awards ‘66: Best Actress (Redgrave), Best Black and White Cinematography, Best Song ("Georgy Girl”), Best Supporting Actor (Mason). VHS, LV

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