Woman in a Dressing Gown (PG)

Film

Woman in a dressing gown.jpg

Time Out rating:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>4</span>/5

User ratings:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>5</span>/5
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Time Out says

Posted: Tue Jul 24 2012

How extraordinary that this ‘lost’ 1957 British melodrama is being reissued in the same week as Michelangelo Antonioni’s ‘Red Desert’. It’s nigh-on impossible to imagine more different approaches to the same subject: the suffering of a woman in a loveless, controlling marriage. Where Antonioni’s approach is knowing, artful and sidelong, J Lee Thompson’s film is altogether more direct and, for the time, more challenging. And while the Italian definitely wins points for cinematic technique and psychological rigour, it’d be hard to argue that Thompson’s isn’t the more impactful, emotionally believable work.

Yvonne Mitchell is remarkable in the title role of Amy, a hapless, affectionate lower-middle-class housewife sent slightly stir-crazy by loneliness and (though it’s never spelled out) depression. Her husband Jim (Anthony Quayle) is a solid sort who loves his wife in his own way – but that hasn’t stopped him wandering into the arms of his  secretary (Sylvia Sims).

Structured around Jim’s decision to tell his wife the truth and confined almost entirely to one small flat, there’s something theatrical about ‘Woman in a Dressing Gown’, particularly in the climactic scenes, as the performances threaten to tip from melodrama into mugging. But Thompson holds things in check: his direction is stark and fluid, using household objects – shelves, windows, banisters – to frame and ‘trap’ his characters.

But the most affecting aspect of the film is its sense of compassion: we’re never asked to condemn or condone, merely to understand. And at the centre of it all is Mitchell’s loveable, helpless, pitiful Amy, a truly memorable, one-of-a-kind creation.

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Release details

Rated:

PG

UK release:

Fri Jul 27, 2012

Duration:

94 mins

Cast and crew

Director:

J Lee Thompson

Cast:

Carole Lesley, Andrew Ray, Sylvia Syms, Anthony Quayle, Yvonne Mitchell, Olga Lindo

Music:

Louis Levy

Art Director:

Robert Jones

Editor:

Richard Best

Cinematography:

Gilbert Taylor

Screenwriter:

Ted Willis

Producer:

J Lee Thompson, Frank Godwin

Users say

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<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>0</span>/5

Average User Rating

5 / 5

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Gary

I think previous user reviews on this film are way off the mark. This is an amazing film and Yvonne Mitchell's performance is wonderfully affecting and natural. She deservedly won the best actress award at Berlin that year for her superb portrayal of a woman trying to keep her husband. One of the very best British films of the fifties.

Gary

I think previous user reviews on this film are way off the mark. This is an amazing film and Yvonne Mitchell's performance is wonderfully affecting and natural. She deservedly won the best actress award at Berlin that year for her superb portrayal of a woman trying to keep her husband. One of the very best British films of the fifties.