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Caron's Affecting Performance Is All That Matters Here,
This review is from: The L-Shaped Room [Region 2] (DVD)
After spending the better part of the 1950's as MGM's resident French gamine, Leslie Caron finally turned in her toe shoes and delivered a poignant performance in this black-and-white 1962 British "kitchen sink" drama directed and written by Bryan Forbes (The Stepford Wives, the original 1975 version). She plays Jane Fosset, a 27-year-old Frenchwoman who finds herself in a standard predicament - she thinks she may be pregnant after a brief, loveless affair. After visiting with an insolent doctor who presumes the worst about her, Jane decides to keep the baby and move into the eponymous studio up in the attic of a rundown boarding house in the then-seedy Fulham area of London. Initially withdrawn from her fellow residents, all social outsiders in their own way, Jane finds herself bonding with everyone, especially Toby, the tortured writer who lives in the unit below. They naturally fall in love, but once he finds out about her pregnancy, he struggles with it and becomes overwhelmed by his own failures.
Forbes keeps the story going at a pace that sometimes feels glacial as the film runs an overlong 126 minutes, but Caron imbues so much compassion into her role that it makes it all worthwhile. The supporting cast is fine as well with Tom Bell quite good as Toby. Bearing a striking resemblance to Laurence Harvey, Bell had his only "leading man" role in this film and later became a busy character actor facing off with Helen Mirren's Jane Tennison in Prime Suspect. Fresh off his 180-degree turn as the wrongfully accused rapist in To Kill a Mockingbird, Brock Peters provides an ebullient presence as Johnny, a West Indian jazz musician who lives next door to Jane. His character is rather intriguing because you can't quite tell whether Johnny's jealousy of Jane and Toby's burgeoning romance is spurred on by his attraction toward one or the other. Cicely Courtneidge makes an impression as a former vaudevillian who has become a lonely woman obsessed with her cat. Brahms's Piano Concerto No. 1 in D minor, Op. 15, is used effectively as background music on the soundtrack. You should read Caron's fond recollection of the film's production in her affecting autobiography, Thank Heaven: A Memoir.
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Initial post: Aug 14, 2014 10:00:30 PM PDT
addison de witt says:
We don't need to buy a copy now do we?
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