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The Killing of Sister George (1968)

Beryl Reid , Susannah York , Robert Aldrich  |  R |  DVD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Beryl Reid, Susannah York, Coral Browne, Ronald Fraser, Patricia Medina
  • Directors: Robert Aldrich
  • Writers: Frank Marcus, Lukas Heller
  • Producers: Robert Aldrich, Walter Blake
  • Format: Color, Letterboxed, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Anchor Bay/Starz
  • DVD Release Date: February 22, 2000
  • Run Time: 138 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00004KHDT
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #454,715 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Killing of Sister George" on IMDb

Special Features

  • 4.5 x 7 Original Theatrical Poster Art

Editorial Reviews

"Sister George" of the title is Britain's best-loved soap opera character, played by actress June Buckeridge (Beryl Reid). Buckeridge has become so identified with her character--a sweet old Miss Marple-ish nurse who putters around her quaint little village on a motor scooter--even her friends call her George. But outside the studio she's a hard-drinking, hot-tempered, foul-mouthed lesbian living with an immature young thing she's nicknamed "Childie" (Susannah York, who makes her memorable entrance in a sheer baby-doll nightie). At her worst Sister George is an abusive monster (in a moment of rage she forces Childie to eat the butt of her cigar), but beneath the bluster is an insecure television actress. When the studio decides to kill her character off and an executive makes a play for Childie, the soap star desperately clings to her young lover. Director Robert Aldrich, best known for his tough action films and gothic thrillers, brings his fierce vision of human nature to Frank Marcus's play. In its best moments the film simmers in angry suspicion and helpless frustration, brought to life by Reid's vivacious performance, but other scenes are overlong and stage-bound and would have benefited greatly from judicious trimming and tightening. The caricatured portrayals of lesbian life have aged rather poorly--an inevitable sign of the times--but this acidic show biz drama still carries a hefty emotional punch. --Sean Axmaker

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
By Bill
Format:VHS Tape
It is a very good example of this type of cinema from the late sixties when directors loved to take all kinds of chances with their subject matter, not like today's pre-packaged films. That three such outstanding actresses as Beryl Reid, Coral Browne and Susannah York were willing to go along with Aldrich for the ride I find just amazing. Beryl Reid in particular shines, although all three put in stupendous performances. I have heard people criticize the film for being dated, but I don't find that a real criticism at all. The enlightened film-goer has to be receptive to other times, other mind-sets, other ways of feeling. If any film invites the viewer to cross those barriers, this one does. Yes, it is overly long, and could probably have been cut down to half its present length. That is the films great flaw, but like most good films which seem overly long upon first viewing, it's impact stays with you. If you can make it past the two-hour mark, I don't think you will find that this film is lacking anything in quality, sensitivity, or the cumulative power to move. Just excellent.
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic July 17, 2000
By A Customer
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This movie is a lot of fun if you do not take it too seriously. It is set in the late 60's London and features the late great Beryl Reid as a soap star under threat at work and home. Great scenes of the Gateways club in London and the owners - Gina and Smitty as well as some of the regulars, who are used as extras. It is not for the faint at heart; there is a very funny scene involving an intoxicated Beryl Reid (George) and a couple of nuns in a taxi cab! If you are looking for a movie depicting a healthy lesbian relationship/love story then this is not for you!
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Masterpiece December 4, 2006
By profile
The Killing of Sister George (1968) is Robert Aldritch's masterpiece: one of the most harrowing films ever made on the subject of show business and masochistic relationships. Cynical yet painfully human, it is far superior to his much more well-known Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?. Beryl Reid, Susannah York & Coral Browne are magnificent and their performances pack an intense emotional wallop. The fact that the movie's principals are lesbians likely prevented people from appreciating the film for its immense merits. Beryl Reid stars as June Buckridge, an aging, overweight actress who plays Sister George, a beloved character on a hokey British soap opera about village life. Susannah York is Alice, or 'Childie' as George refers to her, George's younger, live-in lover who likes to play with dolls and act coy. Their complex, love-hate relationship provides the crux of the film, while George's career hitting the skids in conjunction with increasingly outrageous behavior and growing alcoholism moves the characters towards emotional and personal disaster. Coral Browne gives the performance of her career as Mrs. Croft, the BBC executive who vies for the affections of Childie over George. One particularly memorable scene showcases George & Childie attending a local lesbian bar as Laurel & Hardy, with Mrs. Croft coming over to deliver George the bad news that she has been removed from the show. The notorious sex scene between Childie and Mrs. Croft is both explicit and remarkably restrained and psychologically revealing. Note must also be made of Patricia Medina's sensitive performance as Betty Thaxter, the owner of a local house of prostitution and a personal confidante of George.
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23 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A camp Classic. December 27, 2001
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Beryl Reed is gives an amazing performance as the lecherous Sister George. Many people have condemned this film as being anti lesbian, but I feel it is a study in abusive behavior and the insecurities that feed it. It's also very campy and a hoot. Susannah York as Childie and Coral Browne ( Vera Charles in Auntie Mame) also give very brave and wonderful performances considering this movie was made in the sixties. The story is of a lechorous lesbian who plays a nun on a British Soap Opera.On screen she is kindly and a total humanitarian; offstage is something else altogeher. George is an alcholic lesbian who abuses her younger lover and comes on to real nuns in their taxi cabs. When the BBC threatens to write her out of the soap opera due to her scandalous off-screen behavior, a paranoid lesbian becomes even more abusive. See it for the wonderful performances and sixties sensibilities of gays.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the killing of sister george May 1, 2010
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Beryl Reed is fantastic as sister George and Susanna York's lover in this story within a story.
One has to sometime question the Acadamy Awards with the oversights they've made.
This is certainly one of them
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Sister George of the Jungle July 6, 2006
Beryl Reed singlehandedly saves this movie. She manages to take a character that could have so easliy slid into camp caricature and make her an actual human being. At all times she projects the humanity in George, even when she is acting like a schreechy seven year old with ADD: boozing it up, being needlessly abusive to her girlfriend, huffily walking out on her TV show (even though she's in a precarious position on it). She's shrill, foolish, self-destructive and a bit mean, but Reed manages to make her also charming and sometimes even sweet.

Not that the ham-handed direction by Aldrich helps. We're presented with mega-closeups of Reed and especially Coral Browne that seem designed to make them look as bad as possible. Not that he does better by the heterosexuals in the cast: the people involved in her BBC program are presented little better than circus freaks, or predatory animals in the big bad TV jungle.

In some ways, the movie is hilariouly dated. We are treated to a long sequence in might have been an actual lesbian bar- which is presented as if it were the most shocking think in the world. It seems rather sweet, looking back at it 30-odd years later, and about as threatening as a high-school sock hop.

There is one sex scene that would most likely be rated light R today, other than that, this is an overlong TV movie. Worth seeing as a historical document to the time when merely the fact that Lesbians exist was enough to be "shocking"!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars The Killing of Sister George - Excellent classic movie, a must for...
This is a great movie, the acting is superb. I enjoyed every 2 hours and 25 minutes of it. I could watch and listen to Susannah York, like forever... I simply adore her. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Just Me
5.0 out of 5 stars Fast Paced film
Very good movie. Of course it reads like a play from which it was developed into a film. Fab acting and cool story.
Published 10 months ago by Kya
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb Character Study -- Ten Stars
Beryl Ried, in the role of her career, plays a likeable character in a British soap opera named George, and everyone outside the studio calls her George. Read more
Published 12 months ago by The Peripatetic Reader
5.0 out of 5 stars Unique relationships
This movie was one of the first to portray,openly, lesbian romantic relationships. It's very well done and tastefully presented. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Deborah Porter
5.0 out of 5 stars " The Killing of Sister George" DVD
This film is a classic of the 60's. Up until I received this brand new DVD all I had was a tired old VHS copy. Read more
Published 20 months ago by Robert Ross
4.0 out of 5 stars Prompt arrival
An odd film, with a strong history, soon to be on the stage again, with Kathleen Turner. The stage version will begin at Long Wharf, New Haven, CT.
Published on July 15, 2012 by Uncle Bruce
5.0 out of 5 stars still a great killing!
video was in excellent condition. the story is still fascinating and well-acted as i remember it. worth keeping in personal library.
Published on January 24, 2012 by clotelia riddell
5.0 out of 5 stars Even better than I remember
I saw this film many years ago (at least 30) and thought it was pretty interesting the first time. Now, having recently seen it again, I realize that it is quite a high quality... Read more
Published on April 20, 2011 by ru-serrius
1.0 out of 5 stars nothing to review
Got the video very fast and gave a good feedback, however the video was blank. Didn't bother bitching as it was cheap but I can't write a review for something I didn't see.
Published on February 21, 2011 by Charles Blaker
4.0 out of 5 stars Killing Sister George
The Killing of Sister George is an exciting story with a well written plot. The acting is good and the pace keeps the watcher on the edge of her seat. Read more
Published on June 5, 2010 by Teresa Schoenberg Johnson
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