I have been revisiting some of my favourite British films from the 1960’s.
If you are unfamiliar with the period, The Pumpkin Eater (1964) directed by Jack Clayton is a very good place to start. It tells the story of a woman (sensitively played by Ann Bancroft above) in slow emotional disintegration brought about by her husband’s philandering and deceit. Photographed in sumptuous black and white by Oswald Morris with some beautiful compositions…
Above, Morris's composition and framing are superb throughout the film.
All under the sure direction of the great Jack Clayton, who knows exactly what he is doing even with children… The film is peppered with some stalwart British character actors giving gravitas to every performance. And not forgetting lead actor Peter Finch who is as always superb along with a great cameo from James Mason makes for a highly watchable film.
A Hitchcockian moment with this series on progressive close ups of James Mason's mouth delivering some venomous Pinter dialog
And if that were not enough Harold Pinter penned a terrifically taut script. The great French composer Georges Delerue created a beautifully charged score, full of emotion.
The film is unhurriedly paced with a quiet integrity along with supreme elegance. It allows the viewer space to think and engage with the characters and immerse themselves into the story. Give it a whirl.