The Knack... And How to Get It
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When someone askes me to name my favourite film I usually say "The Knack...and how to get it" which is almost always met with a puzzled look in responce; so few people have seen this movie, even though it won the main prize at Cannes the year it was made and was a popular and commercial success across the world, that you might be forgiven for thinking that perhaps it had been surpressed or maybe overtaken by fashion that lumped all the "Swinging London" films together and forgot them. Either way I think it is a neglected clasic that deserves wider recognision.
Taken from a not very successful play by Ann Jellicoe, that ran at the Royal Court experimental theatre for six weeks about a year before it was filmed, Charles Wood's screenplay expanded the action away from the run-down house, which is at the centre of the play, to use London as the backdrop for the film; not tourist London but the back streets and slightly run down areas of Shepherd's Bush. The true masterstoke was to give the running commentary by the old people on what the four main (young) characters are up to. This babble is so typical of the British attitude to sex sensorious, but at the same time obsessed and slightly regretting that they haven't done it themselves that it is hillarious. This aspect of the film is clearly influenced by Dylan Thomas' "Under Milk Wood" but used here it takes on it's own identity.Read more ›
1) Rita Tushingham stars---Tushingham is gorgeous in an unconventional way, and is known for being a gay icon---the first leading lady who preferred the company of gay men over straight.
2) A young Michael Crawford in a hilarious performance
3) Swinging London portrayed in a non-cliched manner.
4) The film in its entirety (cast, script, setting, cinematography and wardrobe)is more "hip" and avant-garde than anything I've ever seen---and it was done forty years ago.
If you are a fan of smart comedy, hip fashion and lifestyles, or just great cult films, you must have it. If you are none of these, you probably won't get. Let it be known---Lester, who is known most for A Hard Day's Night, surpassed that film tenfold in making The Knack...and How To Get It.
Richard Lester obviously learned to tell a joke at the knee of Spike Milligan. It's a shame that the television shows he directed for Milligan (and Peter Sellers) in the 1950s haven't survived the BBC's notorious indifference to posterity. This makes it even more important that MGM has again made available this film that is now so politically incorrect I long ago concluded it was being surpressed.
This film won the Palm d'Or (best picture) at Cannes in 1965. It has more brilliant silent sight gags than most any three Buster Keaton pictures combined yet has so much verbal wit that you'll likely be back to watch the film at least three times, just to make sure you really got it all, which I'm not certain is really possible. The running commentary on youth by the older generation is one of the most hilarious things I've ever heard (and I am amazed I've never seen anyone steal the idea for a lesser picture.) Listen carefully to the broken dialog in the teacher's lounge where a spinsterish teacher worries no one wants to rape her and a boorish old male teacher reminisces over once hitting an unruly student right up the nose with a piece of chalk. The sight gags are more obvious, usually broad though occasionally subtle, with large parts of the film having no dialog at all, such as the sequence pushing the old bed frame across London, the sequence with which the film is most frequently identified (note that the bed turns white when they get pulled through a car wash).Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It can only be seen on a computer with an adequate SW installed. Does not show on my DVD reader.
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This lovely dated movie holds the answer to one of the most enduring Beatles mysteries, to wit: Just how many holes does it take to fill the Albert Hall? Read morePublished on November 2, 2013 by Stephen Foster
Blimey! While this Richard (the Beatles! the Musketeers! Robin and Marian!) Lester film is chock full of period slang and locations and fashions, it utterly fails to captivate... Read morePublished on September 10, 2013 by R.L. Holly
Some fine performances, sets, cinematography and amusing sequences. Sandwiched within the naive and frivolous fun, though, is a vile disrespect for women that goes even beyond what... Read morePublished on November 24, 2011 by Michael Harbour
'The Knack' is a mood piece centering on the hapless Colin (played by a young Michael Crawford), who watches the succession of women flowing in and out of his flatmate's (Ray... Read morePublished on February 11, 2011 by stargirl33
This movie has ranked number 5 in my top ten favorite movie list! I really enjoy watching it! It nothing like "A Hard Day's Night" or "How I Won the War", but I think it special... Read morePublished on April 29, 2006
Forty years on the once scintillating British comedies of Richard Lester have lost a lot of their fizz. Read morePublished on July 25, 2005 by James M. Shertzer
This movie is of its time and has not aged well. It's a not very vivid portrayal of the swinging sixties in London, with four uninvolving characters spewing bizarre non-sequiturs... Read morePublished on May 7, 2005 by artanis65
... just what it really was like in "The Swinging Sixties" watch this DVD and remember... what? How much fun it was to do really whacky things just for the sake of it. Read morePublished on March 31, 2005 by nicjaytee