HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
American Fiction
Poor Things
Thunderclap
Zeiram
Legend of the Bat
Party Line
Night Fright
Pacha, Le
Kimi
Assemble Insert
Venus Tear Diamond, The
Promare
Beauty's Evil Roses, The
Free Guy
Huck and Tom's Mississippi Adventure
Rejuvenator, The
Who Fears the Devil?
Guignolo, Le
Batman, The
Land of Many Perfumes
Cat vs. Rat
Tom & Jerry: The Movie
Naked Violence
Joyeuses Pacques
Strangeness, The
How I Became a Superhero
Golden Nun
Incident at Phantom Hill
Winterhawk
Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City
Maigret Sets a Trap
B.N.A.
Hell's Wind Staff, The
Topo Gigio and the Missile War
Battant, Le
Penguin Highway
Cazadore de Demonios
Snatchers
Imperial Swordsman
Foxtrap
   
 
Newest Articles
3 From Arrow Player: Sweet Sugar, Girls Nite Out and Manhattan Baby
Little Cat Feat: Stephen King's Cat's Eye on 4K UHD
La Violence: Dobermann at 25
Serious Comedy: The Wrong Arm of the Law on Blu-ray
DC Showcase: Constantine - The House of Mystery and More on Blu-ray
Monster Fun: Three Monster Tales of Sci-Fi Terror on Blu-ray
State of the 70s: Play for Today Volume 3 on Blu-ray
The Movie Damned: Cursed Films II on Shudder
The Dead of Night: In Cold Blood on Blu-ray
Suave and Sophisticated: The Persuaders! Take 50 on Blu-ray
Your Rules are Really Beginning to Annoy Me: Escape from L.A. on 4K UHD
A Woman's Viewfinder: The Camera is Ours on DVD
Chaplin's Silent Pursuit: Modern Times on Blu-ray
The Ecstasy of Cosmic Boredom: Dark Star on Arrow
A Frosty Reception: South and The Great White Silence on Blu-ray
You'll Never Guess Which is Sammo: Skinny Tiger and Fatty Dragon on Blu-ray
Two Christopher Miles Shorts: The Six-Sided Triangle/Rhythm 'n' Greens on Blu-ray
Not So Permissive: The Lovers! on Blu-ray
Uncomfortable Truths: Three Shorts by Andrea Arnold on MUBI
The Call of Nostalgia: Ghostbusters Afterlife on Blu-ray
Moon Night - Space 1999: Super Space Theater on Blu-ray
Super Sammo: Warriors Two and The Prodigal Son on Blu-ray
Sex vs Violence: In the Realm of the Senses on Blu-ray
What's So Funny About Brit Horror? Vampira and Bloodbath at the House of Death on Arrow
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
   
 
  L-Shaped Room, The The Family Way
Year: 1962
Director: Bryan Forbes
Stars: Leslie Caron, Tom Bell, Brock Peters, Cicley Cortneidge, Avis Bunnage, Patricia Phoenix, Bernard Lee, Gerald Sim, Emlyn Williams, Mark Eden, Nanette Newman, Gerry Duggan, Verity Edmett, Anthony Booth, Harry Locke, Jennifer White, Ellen Dryden, Diane Clare
Genre: Drama, RomanceBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Jane Fosset (Leslie Caron) is a French girl in London, looking for a place to stay after leaving the parental home. She ends up in Notting Hill and a seedy boarding house, but she has little choice because it's cheap and better than the streets, although the landlady, Doris (Avis Bunnage) tries to trick her out of more money than she can afford. Jane settles at a less expensive rate and tries to make herself comfortable, although she refuses to sleep in the bed when she sees the mattress is infested with bedbugs. Yet she has a more important problem than that to deal with: the single Jane is pregnant...

The L-Shaped Room was adapted from the novel by Lynne Reid Banks (also author of children's favourite The Indian in the Cupboard) by director Bryan Forbes, and was part of the kitchen sink drama movement aiming for further realism in British film of the late fifties and early sixties. Of course, as a newspaper poster declares this means all of human life is there, all human life fitting for melodrama that is, and there is a quite remarkable selection of unsatisfied social types inhabiting Doris's house, all to add as much colour to a drab world as possible.

Caron was rightly praised for her heartfelt performance, a brave one for an actress best known up till then for wholesome musicals, but the whole cast grab every opportunity they can, from Tom Bell's Toby (a writer who just happens to make his career by penning a story based on his experiences there) to Brock Peters' Johnny (a West Indian who plays trumpet with a jazz band). Also filling up the rooms are elderly lesbian Mavis (Cicely Courtneidge) and a couple of prostitutes in the basement, making this somewhat contrived in the way Forbes has their lives collide along the way.

Jane keeps her condition a secret from everyone, as in 1962 a unwed mother was the subject of scandal, although as she's French perhaps the film wants us to excuse her for her Continental life choices? Fortunately Caron rises above such conventions with great subtlety and poise, and her character becomes something of a reluctant rebel, her decision to have the baby an act of defiance in a conservative society - these days it would be more rebellious to go ahead with the abortion as the unsympathetic private doctor she visits thinks she should.

Not that it's all plain sailing, as she almost has an illegal termination halfway through the film, and life is complicated by the feelings she has for Toby who has fallen for her without knowing she's pregnant. The film is careful to make clear that Jane was a virgin before her encounter with her previous boyfriend (who she doesn't want to see anymore) and Toby is only her second lover, lest we be of the opinion that she was the kind of girl who slept around, or a "whore!" as a disappointed Johnny calls her. When Toby does discover Jane's secret, it effectively ends their relationship, so Forbes illustrates how her motherhood will not be without the burdens of responsibility and prejudice. Although it goes on for far too long, The L-Shaped Room is interesting in its influence on British television soap operas, because that's where you saw stories like this for decades to come. It might look lost on the big screen now.

[The L-Shaped Room has been fully restored for a Studio Canal DVD/Blu-Ray release. Those extras - New interview with Leslie Caron - New interview with Lynne Reid Banks - New featurette: The L-Shaped Room & The British New Wave - Stills gallery.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 6114 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Enoch Sneed
Darren Jones
  Louise Hackett
Mark Le Surf-hall
Andrew Pragasam
Mary Sibley
Graeme Clark
  Desbris M
   

 

Last Updated: