Knack, and How to Get It, The (1965) [Blu-ray]
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You either do or you don't. The Knack, that is, of seduction! From Richard Lester, the director of the A Hard Day's Night and Juggernaut comes this inventive and hilarious romp through love and sex in 1960s London. Featuring a wildly frenetic filmmaking style - careening from slapstick to serious to avant-garde - this genuinely dazzling film is a mod masterpiece that won the prestigious Palm d Or (Best Film) at the 1965 Cannes Film Festival! Cool and sophisticate Tolen (Ray Brooks) has a monopoly on womanizing - with a long line of conquests to prove it - while the naive and awkward Colin (Michael Crawford, How I Won the War) desperately wants a piece of it. But when Colin falls for an innocent country girl (Rita Tushingham, The Bed Sitting Room), it's not long before the self assured Tolen moves in for the kill. Is all fair in love and war, or can Colin get The Knack and beat Tolen at his own game? Featuring un-credited appearances by future stars Jacqueline Bisset (The Deep), Jane Birkin (Blow-Up), Charlotte Rampling (The Night Porter) and a rousing score from legendary John Barry (Dr. No).
Special Features: "Trailers From Hell" with Allan Arkush | The Bed Sitting Room "Trailers From Hell" with John Landis | Trailer Gallery
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Ray Books plays the self confessed womaniser –who has a certain success with the ladies: his character is nasty and manipulative –his conquest is to seduce women, but will curtail himself from committing rape –he will though humiliate his rivals. Starring together, and with ingenious casting, we have a magical formula with Rita Tushingham, and the delightful Donal Donnelly. This will balance into creative comedy that enlightens the film, and will change the status quo in favour of Michael Crawford....
This is Britian’s very own comedy in 15 cert. – the film has a classic and an iconic feeling in advanced timing. Magic too in black and white filming in the autumn streets of London in the 1960’s: it is truly inspired with a jazzy music score by John Barry. The film engages a freshness of living in a cusp of a new generation of imaginative thought: it invigorates and evokes. The film photography is fantastic, and invites us to be there too.
The loveliest part of the film is when a jumbo sized bed is transported across the streets....the buzz of the film also continues when Ray Brooks scooters along with Rita Tushingham in pillion, followed in a chase by Michael Crawford and Donal Donnelly on foot.
On reflection, the charm of comedy may test itself upon the false and comical cry of rape from Rita Tushingham –this is strangely funny in itself; but rightfully so, it will frighten the boys to restrain from their promiscuous behaviour in desire towards the opposite sex – they react by dropping leaves in the park and cowering in retreat - this episode is treated light heartedly as the film intends to portray; but may disturb and offend present audiences as it is actually not very far from the truth of today.....
Michael Crawford will win the day by confidence alone- his acting is so remarkably natural, that by the end of the film, we really think he should have been cast in more films as the leading man of heart--throb charm. Ray Brooks, on the other hand -in character of Dolan- will alternatively be cast off into a soulless pit of resentment, along with older people of whom the film seems to reflect in an imagined thought of hostility towards a new generation?
I genuinely love this film -a favourite of mine, and I find it fascinating to watch again, and to enjoy with fun and with freedom of thought: I personally think it is a classic! The film is directed by Richard Lester.
NB: I dedicate my review to (Patricia) Ann Jellicoe, who is best known “...for devising new forms which challenge and delight unconventional audiences...”
Postscript: I think that the film is very iconic to the moving image of the 1960’s: The jazz score by John Barry -sensualises emotion, along with crisp dialogue that evokes thought – it is a film of originality, and quality; it is timeless: The black and white photography is influenced by an early morning inspiration of autumn season - and together with the interior – we have ‘Art Nouveau.’ It is fascinating to watch.....we never get to meet ‘Rory McBryde;’ but we allure to Ray Brooks, who is pretty cool on scooter; but shambolic of good character: Fleeting in thoughts of audio -to a background of dialogue from an older generation, which is voiced over -the film is great in expression of contrast -between repression and liberation.....
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