I often find some films evoke the period in which they were made much more than others, and "Turn the key softly" is one of the very best. As we follow the fortunes of three women released from Holloway prison one morning during one day, you can really feel the atmosphere of London's streets. The film has excellent location photography, not just of familiar landmarks like Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square, but of the suburbs too - Holloway and Shepherd's Bush. It is as close to being there yourself as you could get.
The film begins with a marvellous shot of trolleybuses (my favourite!) gliding past the old exterior of Holloway prison. There is a lengthy sequence involving a journey by tube, other location highlights being the old theatre on Shepherd's Bush green, the street market, and Joan Collins in Charing Cross Road.
The three leads all give very convincing performances, three women of very different characters dealing with their first day of freedom. Joan Collins as Stella, a "tart with a heart" who nearly jeopardises her chance of happiness; Yvonne Mitchell as Monica who has served time because of her love for David (Terence Morgan)and who nearly makes the same mistake twice, and wonderful Kathleen Harrison as Mrs Quillam, a pathetic and ultimately tragic old woman and inveterate shop lifter. Terence Morgan is at his most smarmy and manipulative, a role in which it seems he was usually cast. I can hardly recall a film in which he wasn't cast as an unpleasant character.
DVD transfer is very good, sharp and crisp with good audio level. For anyone who enjoys windows like this onto a lost Britain this film cannot be recommended enough. It is a simple story but well written and scripted and you will find yourself truly caring about the fates of Stella, Monica and Mrs Quillam. I know I did.
Thanks so much to Strawberry Media for releasing it onto DVD.
I have seen this film twice and think it is one of the best British Films ever made. All 3 Lead Women play excellent parts. I am amazed and so pleased this is being released in Britain about time too.. A huge Thanks to Spirit Entertainment whoever you are. I look forward to more releases from you of old British films. The ending is classic. Buy this and enjoy. Mine is on order.
Taking place all in one day, the film follows three women who are released from prison on the same morning. A woman (Yvonne Mitchell) who took the rap for a crime her lover (Terence Morgan) committed, a young prostitute (Joan Collins) and an elderly grandmother (Kathleen Harrison) arrested for shoplifting. Each will spend their day in a different way before meeting up for dinner that evening after which fate gives some of them a second chance ... or not. Unlike most films of this type, this isn't a cautionary tale but a fairly realistic look about three essentially decent women who find themselves torn between destructive impulses they can't seem to help and an innate knowledge to do the right thing. Harrison's story is the most poignant and the most heartbreaking and it's interesting to see the young Collins showing much promise as an actress (a promise never quite fulfilled). Mitchell's character is the most frustrating because she's the most intelligent of the three women yet can't seem to see the obvious trap waiting for her. A neat little piece of social commentary that gets its message across without the preaching. Directed by Jack Lee from the novel by John Brophy. With Dorothy Alison, Thora Hird, Geoffrey Keen and Simone Silva.
The ITV DVD is a nicely rendered B&W transfer in the appropriate 1.33 ratio.
I completely agree with all the previous reviews. If you wish to experience what life in 1950's London was like, then this film will portray a fair example, whether it be fashion, transport or architecture, this has got the lot. The story revolves around three women from different backgrounds being released from Holloway prison at the same time, what occurs during their time on the out makes up the story, they all fall into bad ways again. The main characters are played by Yvonne Mitchell, Joan Collins and Kathleen Harrison and are supported by a galaxy of British stars which add up to a pretty impressive cast. If you are a lover of old Brit movies then purchase this one, you won't be disappointed, the quality of this remastered dvd is excellent.
I really enjoyed watching this golden oldie filmed during the early 1950s. Joan Collins was just beginning her career then, Kathleen Harrison was already a legend, and Yvonne Mitchell was beginning to make her mark as one of the astounding actors of the 1950s and 1960s.
Three women are released from Holloway prison at the same time. This film follows their progress during the next 24 hours. What happens to them is for the viewer to find out. But, there is an important message underlying their stories as they progress during that one day. All the women have to decide where their future lies, whether it is a return to a life of crime, or whether to start afresh.
Well directed by Jack Lee, with a decent soundtrack, mono though. Picture quality is not too bad either, bearing in mind the age of the film. The remastering team have done a decent job and should be well commended.
Worth a view, especially of London as it used to look during those far off days.
I saw this film about 45 years ago as a boy about 12 and never forgot it. I cried uncontrollably over the final scene and several other scenes have stuck in the memoty all that time. I was pleased to get hold of the novel in recent months and now have the pleasure of owning the film. Why this film and not others? That's difficult to understand. The three women are superb and, in line with other reviewers, it conjures up a lost London. Gritty realism, poignancy and nostalgia, combined with excellent performances, make it an underrated masterpiece.
This film was made at a time were values were very much different and in many ways a lot simpler than today. When poverty was really hard compareed to the so called poverty of today. This film really brings it home. Most of the film is shot on location with the starting sequence set outside Holloway Prison in London. Some fantastic post war locations. The story line is unexpected but shows the way The class structure existed at that time. I won't reveal the plot though. Just to say a great Little film to watch on a rainy Saturday afternoon.