Top positive review
3 people found this helpful
"Not all girls are raving bloody lesbians, you know"
on 23 August 2015
A landmark for queer cinema in the 1960's thanks to the brilliance of director Robert Aldrich (Whatever Happened to Baby Jane, The Dirty Dozen) and the excellent performance by Beryl Reid as the hard-boiled but sympathetic lesbian June Buckridge AKA "Sister George" and her love/hate relationship with her partner Alice "Childie" McNaught (Suzannah York). Sister George refers to the character June plays in a soap opera on television and discovers the character is going to be killed off. The story unravels as a tragedy as June's drunkenness, misbehavior and inability to conduct herself in public means her getting fired and losing her partner by the woman who fired her, Studio Executive and seductress Mercy Croft (Coral Browne)
Without a shadow of a doubt, this film was way ahead of its time (made in 1968) including the word "lesbian" itself in the dialogue and "dyke" was considered abominable at the time, and the films infamous sex scene between Browne and York which gave the film an X rating at the time of it's release. Feminists and lesbians found the film sexist and stereotypical as the character of June (Reid) is a hard-boiled, cigar-smoking, masculine dyke who shouts and screams all the time. When in fact it gives a positive look at both women and lesbians as it shows June as a more intimidating person that any man in the film (and they're aren't many) in a time of patriarchal superiority. Last note, there are many moving and loving scenes in the film which people didn't consider to look at twice, such as the Gateways Club sequence (daring for the time again, because it was filmed on location, and the club was a well-known gay/lesbian bar) seeing ordinary people (not actors) dancing lovingly to the slow music, without the director making a statement of it and making it look as natural as a heterosexual couple dancing in the club.
A landmark film which should be treasured always, a must see for any film fanatic as it is a fascinating slice of film history from a fantastic director and cast, one of my personal favorite's and one of the most under-rated films I know.