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Woman in a Dressing Gown (reissue)


Stars: Yvonne Mitchell, Anthony Quayle, Sylvia Syms, Andrew Ray, Carole Lesley, Marianne Stone, Michael Ripper, Nora Gordon, Olga Lindo, Harry Locke, Melvyn Hayes

Director: J Lee Thompson

I haven’t been able to figure out just why this vintage (1957) drama has been given a theatrical re-release more than half a century later. It’s possible, I suppose, that it’s being given another airing because it was scripted (from his play) by Ted Willis, creator of television’s legendary “Evening’ All” policeman Dixon of Dock Green, whose later exploits have recently been given a DVD airing.

Back in 1957, the then cutting age tale of adultery, earned a ‘A’ ‘For Adults’ certificate. Today, with Channel Four-letter word filling most films along with plenty of full frontal sex and nudity rampant, it warrants a mere PG since the sex scenes – such as they are – are played fully clothed and with about as much eroticism as vintage Enid Blyton.

That said, the film remains well worth a look, predominately for Mitchell whose performance is impressive, moving and cleverly avoids over-emphasis, as she battles to save her marriage to stodgy office worker Quayle who has embarked on an affair with Syms and intends to walk out on his wife.

Mitchell’s performance was rightly awarded with a Silver Bear at Berlin and J Lee Thompson was also nominated for his direction.

Quayle adds depth to what might well have been a cipher role, Syms is pretty and Ray – whose visible acne gives his portrait of Mitchell and Quayle’s conflicted teenage son additional impact – also acquits himself well.

Alan Frank

UK 1957. UK Distributor: StudioCanal. Black and white.
93 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: PG.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 27 Jul 2012