PHOTOS COPYRIGHT MARK MAWSTON/CINEMA RETRO. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Cinema Retro London photographer Mark Mawston dropped by the Cinema Store in London earlier this week to cover Robert Vaughn's signing session for his autobiography A Fortunate Life. Fans lined up outside the store and patiently waited as they were escorted one-by-one to the signing table. Vaughn is in London to shoot the new season of his smash hit TV series Hustle. The book is a mesmerizing page-turner of his early years in show business through his success on The Man From U.N.C.L.E.and his political activism in the late 1960s.
The Killing of Sister George was the first
“serious” film ever to earn an X rating - though many people erroneously believe that distinction was held by by Midnight Cowboy, which
was released the following year.
little-seen but oft-cited film in the queer canon, Sister George still packs a subversive punch 40 years after its
release, not least for its still-unbested, two-minute lesbian sex scene. (Paradoxically
I find it one of the least sexy “sex scenes” ever captured on film.)
Reid (who won a Tony for the role she originated on Broadway) plays an aging,
gin-soaked actress, June Buckridge who, in turn, plays a kindly country nun on
a popular BBC soap opera, Applehurst
– but not for long. The producers of the show have decided to kill off her
character. Meanwhile, June’s live-in, blond bombshell girlfriend “Childie”
(Susannah York) is getting restless. Enter Mrs. Mercy Croft (Coral Browne), one
of Applehurst’s producers, who finds
her first female attraction with Childie. The love triangle that ensues is
still jaw-dropping 40 years later.
screening on 2/28 will be introduced by former TimeOut New York film critic Melissa Anderson, who had this to say
about Sister George:
Killing of Sister George, which was released in 1968, has always fascinated me
as a depiction of pre-Stonewall lesbian culture. It was the first “serious”
film to receive an X-rating, due to the notorious 119-second love scene between
Coral Browne and Susannah York. Although that scene is completely ludicrous—if
not downright offensive—I find that Robert Aldrich’s portrayal of George
(played by the great Beryl Reid, reprising her role from the stage play) is
quite compassionate. Though she’s certainly prone to atrocious behavior, George
is the only one in the film who has not compromised herself or exploited
others. And Aldrich’s decision to film the club scene at a real lesbian bar—the
Gateways Club on Kings Road in London—using real patrons as extras gives the
movie a certain level of authenticity.”
let’s not leave out Robert Aldrich for praise. This was one versatile director.
Although he’s best known for his endlessly quotable, taut-wire suspense
thrillers such as Whatever Happened to
Baby Jane? (1962) and Hush…Hush,
(1964), this was the same director who gave us Kiss Me Deadly (1955), The
Dirty Dozen (1967) and the survival drama The Flight of the Phoenix (1965). We love versatility here at CinemaRetro,
and we love under-appreciated cult classics coming in for their long-overdue
due. Due due? Sorry. Don’t miss Sister George!