Revisiting: Woman in a Dressing Gown
Elegant, adult cinema with a fierce emotional punch
‘Why not a movie about illicit love?’ demanded the poster for this critically acclaimed British drama on its release in 1957. Though the attempt to court a dirty-mac-clad audience is clear, fleshy thrills are hardly the point here. The film’s focus is more upon a long-standing, troubled marriage than on the affair that threatens it; and its uncompromising acknowledgment of the struggles inherent in sustaining domestic contentment remains bold and impressive. If husband, father and office drone Jimbo’s (Anthony Quayle) weakness is for his beautiful secretary Georgie (Sylvia Syms), for his wife Amy (Yvonne Mitchell) the challenge is in living up to the demands of being a reliable housekeeper; and once Jim’s infidelity comes to light, her fragile grasp on her responsibilities is loosened altogether.
Mitchell is brilliant as the dramatic, raddled, loving Amy, whose bad hair, bedwear and raw voice stand as defiant symbols of all that society asks her to conceal. Hard and uncompromising, yet charged with sad fellow-feeling regarding the lies that we tell ourselves and the compromises we make, this is elegant, adult cinema with a fierce emotional punch.
Selected release from Fri 27 Jul.