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The Killing of Sister George (1968) [VHS]

Susannah York , Beryl Reid , Robert Aldrich    Suitable for 18 years and over   VHS Tape
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Actors: Susannah York, Beryl Reid, Coral Browne, Ronald Fraser, Patricia Medina
  • Directors: Robert Aldrich
  • Format: Colour, PAL
  • Language: English
  • Classification: 18
  • Studio: CINEMA CLUB
  • VHS Release Date: 2 April 2001
  • Run Time: 138 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00004RU1O
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 267,099 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

From Amazon.co.uk

"Sister George" within The Killing of Sister George is Britain's best-loved soap opera character, played by actress June Buckeridge (Beryl Reid). Buckeridge has become so identified with her character--a sweet old Miss Marple-ish nurse who putters around her quaint little village on a motor scooter--even her friends call her George. But outside the studio she's a hard-drinking, hot-tempered, foul-mouthed lesbian living with an immature young thing she's nicknamed "Childie" (Susannah York, who makes her memorable entrance in a sheer baby-doll nightie). At her worst Sister George is an abusive monster (in a moment of rage she forces Childie to eat the butt of her cigar) but beneath the bluster is an insecure television actress. When the studio decides to kill her character off and an executive makes a play for Childie, the soap star desperately clings to her young lover. Director Robert Aldrich, best known for his tough action films and gothic thrillers, brings his fierce vision of human nature to Frank Marcus's play . In its best moments the film simmers in angry suspicion and helpless frustration, brought to life by Reid's vivacious performance but other scenes are overlong and stage-bound and would have benefited greatly from judicious trimming and tightening. The caricatured portrayals of lesbian life have aged rather poorly--an inevitable sign of the times--but this acidic show-biz drama still carries a hefty emotional punch. --Sean Axmaker, Amazon.com

Product Description

George lives with her lover, Childie and plays a cheerful district nurse in a BBC soap opera. However, her character is to be killed off, and George realises that the only other job she can get is the voice of a cow in a children's tv programme. Her life begins to fall apart as Childie has an affair with a predatory tv producer.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beryl Reid's finest hour 16 May 2006
By The Man from the Ministry TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:DVD
This is a film which is very much a product of its time (1968)and yet also seems more innovative and contemporary than most of today's movies. Beryl Reid's portrayal of an alcoholic soap star whose career and personal life are falling apart is flawless and she is more than ably supported by her co-stars Susannah York and Coral Browne.

This film is memorable on so many levels. Along with vividly recapturing 1960's 'Swinging' London, it also gives a rare and fascinating insight into the lesbian scene, as the scenes were filmed in the famous Gateways Club. However, the most striking aspect of this film is the harrowing and moving portrayal by Reid and York of two women in a disintegrating relationship.

Beryl Reid manages to strike the right balance between tragedy and comedy, managing to be fearless and outrageously funny in one scene, whilst seeming broken and pathetic in the next.

One trivia fact: this film was made with the proceeds from Robert Aldrich's previous film, 'The Dirty Dozen'. This may seem an unlikely successor, but remember that Aldrich also directed the wonderful 'Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?'
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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Moooooooo 17 Nov 2004
By A Customer
Format:DVD
As a young teenager back in 68 or 69, I sneaked into the theater to see this film; a film I had read about as being very controversial. It caught me and I've never been free of it since. I cannot say much more than this; a film which I saw back in 1968/69 as a 14/15 year old, which I continue to watch over and over again is a very powerful film. Sister George and Alice "Childie" McNaught will always be with me. I was shocked by the scene where Alice must show her contrition for having caused George unnecessary aggravation, loved the Laurel & Hardy skits, opened up my mind at the Gateways Club, and felt wretchted at the final scene. The Killing of Sister George, a film which has been with me for 35 years.
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42 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BERYLLIANT !! 2 Aug 2004
By A Customer
Format:DVD
Don't let the fact this film deals with lesbianism put you off; it is about any couple who have been together too long and moved apart with time and events: the principals could just as well have been two gay men or an heterosexual couple.
Messrs. Reid, York and Browne turn out superlative performances, and Beryl Reid as the lead gets my vote as one of the best screen portrayals of all time. Certainly it is hard to sympathise with Reid's character (June Buckridge/Sister George), but you have to be dead from the feet up not to be moved by the heart-rending finale, largely brought about by her own inability to cope with the break-up of her world and, it has to be said, her self induced destruction.
George's language is quite strong at times, and the one sex scene has us sharing Mrs. Croft's (Coral Browne) dry throat and pounding heart as she gives way to her awakening sexuality. Only the depiction of the lesbian club looks really dated but, hey, it WAS nearly 40 years ago, and all the spot-on dialogue and situations could just as well happen today (and probably do within many a relationship, gay or otherwise) and stand up well!
Previous reviewers have rather missed the point, focusing on the relatively unimportant role stereotyping (butch v pretty) and the heavy make-up typical of the era, the fact being that this is not a "pretty" film, and wasn't meant to be; hopefully, anyone having read them has given it a chance anyway, and been glad they did.
The DVD is crisp and clear, and the lack of extras (inevitable in a film of this age), though regretable, does not detract. A "must have" for anyone genuinely interested in character acting at it's best, and one that transcends time.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sister George 25 Sep 2004
Format:VHS Tape
From the director of 'What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?' (Robert Aldrich) comes this gritty adaptation of Frank Marcus' play.
June Buckridge (Beryl Reid) is an aging actress whose life is falling apart. The part she plays in a TV soap series is about to be killed off, and the only job offer she has received is the voice of Clarabell Cow. Worse still, she suspects her young lover (Susannah York) of having an affair. Made in 1969, this is one of the first films to deal with the previously taboo subject of lesbianism and with Aldrich's masterful handling of the subject, it makes for a powerful and moving drama.
A moving drama BUT the most hilarious film I have seen in a long time.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Killing Of Sister George 16 Nov 2012
By John
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Such a superb movie and Beryl Reid has what it takes to keep it moving. From the opening pub scene showing (June Buckridge) known as Sister George on the public phone you just have to keep watching wondering what the next twist is going to be.
Love the bit in the Gateways club where George and her partner Childie are doing their double act and of course George in the taxi. Not a film for the shy or over-modest in those days but full of home truths. A very sad ending with a brilliant performance from Beryl Reid as the unloveable Sister George just great from the start.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Reid's rascally and a real riot..... 8 May 2012
By Tim Kidner TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Seeing Beryl Reid mouth silently a four-letter swear word when such things didn't happen in films and drunkenly canoodling with two young nuns in the back of a London cab is both quite outstanding and rather loveable.

Miss Reid, who I only got to see in my childhood as a twee, granny-like innocent (the sort that she plays for real in a TV serial as Sister George, a homely district nurse), I found The Killing Of... both delicious and ever astounding in its frankness and of her rather warped relationship with the much younger Susannah York.

Warped, not because of the age difference, nor of their same-sex partnership, but because June Buckridge (Reid) has a cruel streak that is borne out by her playing sadistic mind games with Alice "Childie" (York).

Sister George, in the best tradition of TV soaps, is being killed off, to make way for an Australian replacement. Hence June's venomous outpourings and increasingly erratic behaviour.

Equally interesting is the London of the late '60s, both in its landmarks but also its people and fashions, whether that's in how they live and/or how they dress and present themselves.

Though real soaps cover such material freely and openly these days, 42 years ago, it must have been a very different kettle of fish. Lesbianism back in those days was not only considered immoral but also a mental aberration and had to be so hidden, in an attempt to prove to those 'righteous' souls that it did not exist. Therefore, it must have been a very brave undertaking as a film, though it originated as a play, written by Frank Marcus.

Having now seen it again, I consider Robert Aldrich's ground-breaking film to be a bit of a classic and one, which, no doubt I'll want to see again in a few years time. It really is a piece of British cinematic history.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Fabulous, not dated at all
Published 8 days ago by Ms. Judith M. Gebhard
3.0 out of 5 stars Relatively tame story line
Classic film but compared to modern day this is very tame. Interesting to see the 1960's fashion and behaviour. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Deborah
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
Love this movie, So good. I cant recommend it enough, very funny and sad also. I was very impressed by the storyline.
Published 11 months ago by Debs77
5.0 out of 5 stars outstanding 60s politically in-correct but well crafted film, on what...
You wont see this masterpiece on HBO, the lesbians are predatory, passive -aggressive and co-dependent..... no Ellen Or Cloudburst here... Read more
Published 11 months ago by wendy shannon
5.0 out of 5 stars RAY H
I've mentioned in previous reviews that I love good acting,and you certainly get it here, Beryl Reid is a revelation and the direction by Robert Aldrich is up to his high standard. Read more
Published 12 months ago by QM1
2.0 out of 5 stars Why did I buy this
A friend assured me I would like it..I didn't...Long, tedious, and where it may have had a shock value way back then, it just looks tacky now. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Greedy Reader
4.0 out of 5 stars Superb drama
A dramatic presentation with excellent performances and some fascinating insights into the underground world of lesbian London in the 1960's. Recommended
Published 13 months ago by Mr. P. Brabban
3.0 out of 5 stars Raunchy in it's time but not quite so shocking now
A film worth watching but not mind blowing. The lead actress is very good in her role as a licentious, contolling old lezzer.
Published 15 months ago by Ms. R. M. Thompson
5.0 out of 5 stars the killing of sister george
Berl Reid at her upmost excellence!! Very funny but also sensitive. Both she and Susannah York are much missed actresses
Published 15 months ago by EAP of B
5.0 out of 5 stars A must
A classic piece of British cinema. The acting is of its time and there are moments when it feels as if you are watching a play rather than a film. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Pete
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