Georgy Girl
Promotional film poster
Directed bySilvio Narizzano
Written byMargaret Forster
Peter Nichols
Based onGeorgy Girl
by Margaret Forster
Produced byRobert A. Goldston
Otto Plaschkes
George Pitcher (assoc. producer)
StarringJames Mason
Alan Bates
Lynn Redgrave
Charlotte Rampling
CinematographyKenneth Higgins
Edited byJohn Bloom
Music byTom Springfield
Alexander Faris
Color processBlack and white
Production
company
Everglades Productions
Distributed byColumbia Pictures
Release date
  • 17 October 1966 (1966-10-17) (USA)
  • 21 October 1966 (1966-10-21) (UK)
Running time
99 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom
LanguageEnglish
Budget$400,000[1]
Box office$16,873,162[2]

Georgy Girl is a 1966 British comedy-drama romance film based on the 1965 novel by Margaret Forster. The film was directed by Silvio Narizzano and starred Lynn Redgrave (as Georgy), Charlotte Rampling, Alan Bates, and James Mason. The film features the title song "Georgy Girl" as performed by the Seekers.

The plot follows the story of a virginal young woman in 1960s Swinging London who is faced with a dilemma when she is pursued by her father's older employer and the young lover of her promiscuous, pregnant flatmate.

Plot

The opening credits show the title character walking through the streets of London and being tempted into a hairdressers where she has her hair set in a far more contemporary style. She immediately changes her mind, and runs through the streets until she reaches a public lavatory. Once there, she submerges her hair in a sink-full of water, happy to return to her previously unkempt hairstyle.

Georgina ("Georgy") Parkin (Lynn Redgrave) is a 22-year-old Londoner who has considerable musical talent, is well-educated, and has an engaging, shameless manner. On the other hand, she believes herself to be plain and slightly overweight, she dresses haphazardly, and she is incredibly naïve on the subjects of love and flirtation. She has never had a boyfriend. She has an inventive imagination and loves children.

Her parents are live-in employees of successful businessman James Leamington (James Mason), who runs a children's home. Leamington is 49 and has a loveless, childless marriage with Ellen (Rachel Kempson). He has watched with affection as Georgy grew up, and has treated her as if he were her second father: He provided for her private education at a Swiss finishing school, and for a studio in his own home, in which she teaches dance to children. Leamington thinks Georgy "owes him" for all he has done.

As Georgy has become a young woman, his feelings for her have become more than fatherly: James offers Georgy a legal contract, proposing to supply her with the luxuries of life in return for her becoming his mistress. Georgy sidesteps his proposal by never giving him a direct response; Leamington's business-like language and manner (and awkward inability to express any affection for her) leave her cold.

Georgy's flatmate is the beautiful Meredith (Charlotte Rampling), who is a violinist in an orchestra, but is otherwise a shallow woman who lives for her own pleasures. She treats the meekly compliant Georgy like an unpaid servant. Georgy has a crush on Meredith's boyfriend Jos Jones (Alan Bates) and is happy to accommodate Meredith in order to spend time with Jos. She cooks for him and they play Scrabble together.

When Meredith discovers that she is pregnant by Jos, they get married. She tells him bluntly that she has aborted two of his children, but she wants to marry because she is "bored." Jos moves in with the two young women. He becomes disillusioned with Meredith and begins to find himself attracted to Georgy, who convinces Leamington to buy several expensive items for the baby's care.

While in the midst of an argument with Meredith over her cavalier attitude to her pregnancy, Jos suddenly kisses Georgy and tells her that he loves her. Georgy flees the apartment onto the streets of London, where Jos follows her, screaming over and over again that he loves her as he pursues her.

The two return to the flat, where they have sex, after which there is a knock at the door by Peggy, a friend of Meredith, who tells Jos that Meredith has gone to the hospital to give birth. Jos and Georgy go to the hospital, where Georgy tries to comfort Meredith while she is in labour. Jos and Georgy's secret love affair continues.

Meredith gives birth to a daughter they name Sara. Because she has no interest in the baby and has tired of Jos, she announces that she plans to put the child up for adoption and divorce him.

Georgy and Jos set up home together in the flat, caring for baby Sara and living as a common-law married couple. It becomes clear that Georgy cares more for the baby than for having an adult relationship with Jos. Their relationship ends when Jos tires of a father's responsibilities; he abandons her and his baby. Now that Georgy is the sole caregiver of a baby to whom she has no blood ties, Social Services wishes to remove baby Sara from her care.

In the recent past, Mr Leamington's wife suddenly died. Leamington, who was unable to express his true feelings for Georgy while his wife was alive, now finds himself free to express his love for her, so he proposes marriage. Georgy accepts because this will allow her to keep Sara. The two marry despite the difference in their backgrounds and ages. They officially adopt Sara, making Georgy a mother. As the newlyweds are chauffeured away from their wedding, Georgy ignores her new husband, devoting all her attention to baby Sara.

Cast

Reception

The film was successful at the box office. By 1967, it had earned an estimated $7 million in the United States and $6 million in other countries.[3] By the end of 1967, it had earned $7,330,000 in rentals in North America according to rentals accruing to the distributors.[4]

Locations

Several scenes were filmed in north London, in Belsize Park and Little Venice, notably outside a canalside house on Maida Avenue.

Title song

The title song "Georgy Girl", written by Tom Springfield and Jim Dale, was recorded by Australian band The Seekers. A single release of the song (with somewhat different lyrics) topped the singles chart in Australia, and was a top 10 hit in both the UK and the U.S. (#2 for two weeks). It was the 56th biggest British hit of 1967,[5] and the 57th biggest American hit of 1967.[6] It became a gold record and was nominated for an Academy Award in the Best Original Song from a Motion Picture category.

Awards and nominations

Award Category Nominee(s) Result
Academy Awards[7] Best Actress Lynn Redgrave Nominated
Best Supporting Actor James Mason Nominated
Best Cinematography – Black-and-White Kenneth Higgins Nominated
Best Original Song "Georgy Girl" – Tom Springfield and Jim Dale Nominated
Berlin International Film Festival Golden Bear Silvio Narizzano Nominated
OCIC Award Won
British Academy Film Awards Best British Film Nominated
Best British Actress Lynn Redgrave Nominated
Best Art Direction – Black-and-White Tony Woollard Nominated
Best Cinematography – Black-and-White Kenneth Higgins Nominated
Directors Guild of America Awards Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures Silvio Narizzano Nominated
Golden Globe Awards Best English-Language Foreign Film Nominated
Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy Alan Bates Nominated
Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy Lynn Redgrave Won
Best Original Song – Motion Picture "Georgy Girl" – Tom Springfield and Jim Dale Nominated
Most Promising Newcomer – Male Alan Bates Nominated
Most Promising Newcomer – Female Lynn Redgrave Nominated
Kansas City Film Critics Circle Awards Best Actress Won[a]
Laurel Awards Top Drama Nominated
Top Song "Georgy Girl" – Tom Springfield and Jim Dale Nominated
National Board of Review Awards Top Ten Films 6th Place
New York Film Critics Circle Awards Best Actress Lynn Redgrave Won[b]

Adaptation

In 1970, the film was the basis for an unsuccessful Broadway musical titled Georgy.

It was adapted for BBC Radio 4 in 2013 by Rhiannon Tise.[8]

Notes

References

  1. ^ Box Office Information for Georgy Girl. IMDb. Retrieved 16 April 2012.
  2. ^ "Georgy Girl, Box Office Information". The Numbers. the-numbers.com. Retrieved 16 April 2012.
  3. ^ Alexander Walker Hollywood, England, Stein and Day, 1974 p.310
  4. ^ "Big Rental Films of 1967", Variety, 3 January 1968 p 25
  5. ^ "Top 100 1967 - UK Music Charts". www.uk-charts.top-source.info.
  6. ^ "Top 100 Hits of 1967/Top 100 Songs of 1967". www.musicoutfitters.com.
  7. ^ "Georgy Girl". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Archived from the original on 10 February 2014. Retrieved 10 February 2014.
  8. ^ "Georgy Girl Episode 1 of 5". Retrieved 29 August 2013.