HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Halloween Kills
Cicada
Sun Shines Bright, The
Last Thing Mary Saw, The
Comets
Herself
Mon Oncle d'Amerique
Wild Strawberries
Runner, The
Don't Look Up
Ghostbusters: Afterlife
Eternals
Forever Purge, The
Memoria
Venom: Let There Be Carnage
Legend of La Llorona, The
Japon
Glasshouse
Perdita Durango
Commando, The
Woodlands Dark and Days Bewitched: A History of Folk Horror
Boiling Point
Malignant
Deadly Games
Ailey
Voyeurs, The
Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes
In the Earth
Hiroshima Mon Amour
Hotel Poseidon
Zola
No Time to Die
Klaus
Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey
Candyman
Power of the Dog, The
StageFright
Voyage of Time: An IMAX Documentary
Suicide Squad, The
One Night in Miami...
   
 
Newest Articles
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
The Punk Rock Movie: Out of the Blue on Blu-ray
Yeah, Too Quiet: The Great Silence on Blu-ray
Vestron Double Bill: Dementia 13 and The Wraith
Farewell Dean Stockwell: His Years of Weirdness
Kung Fu Craft: Cinematic Vengeance! on Blu-ray
999 Letsbe Avenue: Gideon's Way on Blu-ray
Hungary for Cartoons: Hungarian Animations on MUBI
You Have No Choice: Invasion of the Body Snatchers on Blu-ray
You Can't Tame What's Meant to Be Wild: The Howling on Blu-ray
Commendably Brief: Short Sharp Shocks Vol. 2 on Blu-ray
Super Silents: Early Universal Vol. 2 on Blu-ray
Fable Fear: The Singing Ringing Tree on Blu-ray
Gunsight Eyes: The Sabata Trilogy on Blu-ray
Bloody Bastard Baby: The Monster/I Don't Want to Be Born on Blu-ray
Night of the Animated Dead: Director Jason Axinn Interview
The ParaPod: A Very British Ghost Hunt - Interview with Director/Star Ian Boldsworth
On the Right Track: Best of British Transport Films Vol. 2
The Guns of Nutty Joan: Johnny Guitar on Blu-ray
Intercourse Between Two Worlds: Twin Peaks Fire Walk with Me/The Missing Pieces on Blu-ray
Enjoy the Silents: Early Universal Vol. 1 on Blu-ray
Masterful: The Servant on Blu-ray
   
 
  Taste of Honey, A I'm Not Sorry And I'm Not Glad
Year: 1961
Director: Tony Richardson
Stars: Dora Bryan, Robert Stephens, Rita Tushingham, Murray Melvin, Paul Danquah, Michael Bilton, Eunice Black, David Bolliver, Margo Cunningham, A. Goodman, John Harrison, Veronica Howard, Moira Kaye, Graham Roberts, Valerie Scarden, Rosalie Scase
Genre: Comedy, DramaBuy from Amazon
Rating:  8 (from 1 vote)
Review: Jo (Rita Tushingham) is about to leave school for good, and she'll be glad to see those days behind her, but she still has the here and now to worry about as she lives with her single mother Helen (Dora Bryan) in a bedsit. Or rather, she used to live there as once again Helen insists on doing a runner from their accomodation so she can avoid paying the rent she owes: out the window they go, settling on a different flat somewhere else in Manchester, but on the way she happens to meet sailor Jimmy (Paul Danquah) who helps them with their bags...

Shelagh Delaney was only eighteen when she wrote the original play of A Taste of Honey, a groundbreaking work which ushered in the so-called kitchen sink dramas of the late fifties and early sixties in Britain, along with a new wave of playwrights and filmmakers; her work was an obvious choice for filming, and Tony Richardson decided he was the man to do it. They wrote a script, then set to shooting on the streets of Manchester, with some in a dilapitated flat in London. The results were widely acclaimed at the time, winning prizes at Cannes and the BAFTAs and becoming a renowned movie around the world for its matter of fact dealng with then hot-button topics as illegitimate pregancy, love between different races, and homosexuality.

Watching it now the naysayers are wont to point out that what may have been startling in its day has been diluted by decades of soap opera and the television drama which followed dutifully in its footsteps, and even more than this others have accused it of being patronising towards its characters, as if observing them from an ironic distance, the middle classes wallowing in the working classes' lifestyle for a hundred minutes whereupon they can return to their own lives. But if you actually settle down with it, there's none of the clucking of tongues that its denigrators may have led you to expect; no, these people aren't perfect, but there's an affection for the characters which is plain to see, no matter that they're not always acting in the best interests of others.

Really this was the tale of Jo's coming of age, but Richardson makes it clear while she and those around her may have grown up in years, mentally they still have to find their place in the world, and lack the consistent self-awareness necessary to make the best of things. For this reason children are always in the background, playing or singing to underline the immaturity of everyone from Jo's petulant regard for her mother, to Helen's rebounding through life from man to man, dragging her daughter behind her until she has to accept that Jo might be outgrowing her. Though as the ending illustrates, even that doesn't mean she won't be hanging around, difficult to shake but then again, she's the only real family the girl has, and we can perceive the amount of conflicted emotional pain she puts her through.

Jimmy isn't the answer to Jo's problems, but he offers her "a taste of honey" for a while as their romance lifts her spirits, though poignantly he is not able to stay with her because in spite of genuine love he still has to leave on his ship, and although he vows to be back this is the sort of film where noble promises such as that cannot help but be broken. Therefore Jo is left pregnant and falling out with Helen's latest boyfriend (Robert Stephens), leading her to that derelict flat and the next man in her life, Geoffrey (Murray Melvin), who may be gay but that doesn't mean he won't to look after Jo, and the baby when it arrives. Again, the theme of abandonment looms large, and with little certain in the heroine's life she comes to realise she has to enjoy any good times which go her way while they last, however briefly. Although this could have been unforgivingly bleak, the script had many funny lines in bittersweet fashion and acutely delivered performances, making this one of the finest of its downbeat kind. Music by John Addison.

[Available as part of the BFI's Woodfall box set on Blu-ray and DVD, which includes these fully restored films:

Look Back in Anger (Tony Richardson, 1959)
The Entertainer (Tony Richardson, 1960)
Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (Karel Reisz, 1960)
A Taste of Honey (Tony Richardson, 1961)
The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner (Tony Richardson, 1962)
Tom Jones (Tony Richardson, 1963) (New 4K digital restorations of the original theatrical version of the film and the 1989 director's cut)
Girl with Green Eyes (Desmond Davis, 1964)
The Knack ...and how to get it (Richard Lester, 1965).

All that plus 20 hours of extras: short films, featurettes, interviews, audio commentaries and an extensive booklet.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 2915 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
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Jason Cook
Enoch Sneed
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
   

 

Last Updated: