Granted it’s a (PPLL) Pre Pension Library Loaner, but A Taste of Honey is worth a borrow and the film equivalent to Ray Bradbury’s literary prescient Fahrenheit 451.
Based on a play in 1958, this British film from 1961 broke barriers for addressing inter-racial relationships and homosexuality.
An aside of how I was introduced to the film: two Saturdays ago I was skipping out to meet some British folks I was to meet for the first time. And here’s where I do a public service announcement: don’t skip, especially on uneven brick sidewalks. Without any drop of alcohol in my veins and with only my clumsy feet to blame, I did a face plant. The spirit of Memphis still inside me from my recent ABA conference, I stubbornly continued to my destination fat lip and scraped elbows (not to mention bruised knees) to meet my new acquaintances. Fast forward and we shared fun conversation and favorite movies, hence, A Taste Of Honey.
A Taste of Honey was directed by Tony Richardson (winner of an Oscar for Tom Jones, ex-husband to Vanessa Redgrave and father of the two actress daughters). The stars of the movie, namely four, were all fantastic. Rita Tushingham who was 19 at the time of filming was truly awesome as a neglected pregnant teen. Equally good was her homosexual buddy Murray Melvin. I watched the second dvd of interviews and was inspired by his moxy, saying, “I was the face of gay pride in 1958!” (he also starred in the dramatic version). Rita’s immature mother was brilliantly played by Dora Bryan, so cute that you almost couldn’t hate her (emphasis on ‘almost’). Her ninkampoop of a boyfriend/husband was played by Robert Stephens, ex-husband of Maggie Smith.
From the scant research I have time for, it appears that the director and Robert Stephens have much in common (both died in their 60’s after unsuccessful marriages to successful actresses).
An interesting psychological question is can two broken people (Rita and Melvin) ever have a whole relationship or would their neediness end up destructing their marriage (as did mine). Another psychological question is whether non-sexual relationships are more sustainable and more fulfilling in the long run (as mine seems to be).
A cultural question is whether all British folks are both abusive and loving and do they also vary their moods so drastically moment to moment. In the film they could equally hate and love their partner/relative all in one breath as well as be suicidal and then gay (meaning happy).
At any rate, A Taste Of Honey was a kick to watch, for its honesty and to get a glimpse into British culture.
And an update on my tripping, I healed in a week, proof that I’m leading a healthy life.