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3.5 out of 5 stars
3.5 out of 5 stars
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VINE VOICEon 17 March 2005
Forty years after its release, it's hard to imagine how new and fresh this film was. Borrowing heavily from the French New Wave in terms of look and feel, the film and its inseperable and sublime John Barry soundtrack are a fascinating snapshot of the so-called swinging sixties in London.
Whilst The Knack has some stunning elements all captured beautifully on the otherwise feature free DVD - the stark black and white photography, the white on white decor of the downstairs flat and the views of London (somehow familiar yet quite alien) the film is not what it was.
Perhaps it's original uniqueness has been copied or pastiched so many times that the film is now a cliche. Scenes of 'wacky' youth leaping around in the street is a bit cringe inducing, while the scenes where Tolen tries to enamour himself of Nancy and the "Rape" last act are downright disturbing.
For fans of the movie's director Dick Lester the Knack is closer to A Hard Day's Night than Help and like those films it has a cool soundtrack.
It's a shame that the DVD didn't have a bit more to offer - there isn't even a trailer - something the soundtrack included when issued as an enhanced CD
Ultimately The Knack is essential viewing for those interested in Sixties London and how young some of the actors look - (check out early performances from Jacqueline Bisset and one time John Barry squeeze Jane Birkin).
Shop around for it and get the best price!!
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on 28 April 2008
I don't understand why this film gets unfavourable reviews on Amazon. I didn't like it when I first saw it on TV in the seventies (I missed it at the cinema being under-age) but it has become one of my favourite films since. It has the greatest of John Barry's great film scores, superb black and white photography, Rita Tushingham at her best, wonderful shots of mod London, and it is very wittily filmed. It is based on a theatre play which has transferred to the screen perfectly and it is inspired by the French New Wave. It is witty and trendy 60s mod art, and so it must be good.
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on 26 October 2015
I remember watching this film as a teenager in the sixtees when it was made, i am a great fan of Ray Brooke's and Rita Tushingham, these films bring back a lot of the Beatles era and even though I was not a fan of theirs I do enjoy their music now I am a bit older.
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on 7 June 2016
A very young Rita Tushingham, Michael Crawford and Ray Brooks in a quirky typical 1960's movie. An unusual style of film with added comments from people in the street all the way through it. I liked the film.
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on 28 December 2015
This is an extraordinary film that will owe much of its success to the play of which it was based upon; namely, ‘The Knack’ by playwright Ann Jellicoe. It is a captivating film of all sorts, but is aggressive in undertone. Ray Brooks plays the cad; while Michael Crawford is the underdog. It not unlike the whimsical comedy of ‘School for Scoundrels’ but is light years ahead of filming from the likes of Terry Thomas and Ian Carmichael. The film though is unique and timeless.

Ray Books plays the self confessed womaniser –who has a certain success with the ladies: his character is nasty and manipulative –his conquest is to seduce women, but will curtail himself from committing rape –he will though humiliate his rivals. Starring together, and with ingenious casting, we have a magical formula with Rita Tushingham, and the delightful Donal Donnelly. This will balance into creative comedy that enlightens the film, and will change the status quo in favour of Michael Crawford....

This is our very own British comedy in 15 cert. – the film has a classic and an iconic feeling in advanced timing. Magic too in black and white filming in the autumn streets of London in the 1960’s: it is truly inspired with a jazzy music score by John Barry. The film engages a freshness of living in a cusp of a new generation of imaginative thought: it invigorates and evokes. The film photography is fantastic, and invites us to be there too.

The loveliest part of the film is when a jumbo sized bed is transported across the streets....the buzz of the film also continues when Ray Brooks scooters along with Rita Tushingham in pillion, followed in a chase by Michael Crawford and Donal Donnelly on foot.

On reflection, the charm of comedy may test itself upon the false and comical cry of rape from Rita Tushingham –this is strangely funny in itself; but rightfully so, it will frighten the boys to restrain from their promiscuous behaviour in desire towards the opposite sex – they react by dropping leaves in the park and cowering in retreat - this episode is treated light heartedly as the film intends to portray; but may disturb and offend present audiences as it is actually not very far from the truth of today.....

Michael Crawford will win the day by confidence alone- his acting is so remarkably natural, that by the end of the film, we really think he should have been cast in more films as the leading man of heart--throb charm. Ray Brooks, on the other hand -in character of Dolan- will alternatively be cast off into a soulless pit of resentment, along with older people of whom the film seems to reflect in an imagined thought of hostility towards a new generation?

I genuinely love this film -a favourite of mine, and I find it fascinating to watch again, and to enjoy with fun and with freedom of thought: I personally think it is a classic! The film is directed by Richard Lester.

NB: I dedicate my review to (Patricia) Ann Jellicoe, who is best known “...for devising new forms which challenge and delight unconventional audiences...”


Postscript: I think that the film is very iconic to the moving image of the 1960’s: The jazz score by John Barry -sensualises emotion, along with crisp dialogue that evokes thought – it is a film of originality, and quality; it is timeless: The black and white photography is influenced by an early morning inspiration of autumn season - and together with the interior – we have ‘Art Nouveau.’ It is fascinating to watch.....we never get to meet ‘Rory McBryde;’ but we allure to Ray Brooks, who is pretty cool on scooter; but shambolic of good character: Fleeting in thoughts of audio -to a background of dialogue from an older generation -voiced over- the film is great in expression of contrast -between repression and liberation.....
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on 15 July 2011
As a teenager in the 1960s I can totally relate to the characters in this film. Its tongue in cheek but also very much like it was for youths in that era - the carefree, easy come, easy go, swinging sixties. I enjoyed it even more than I did when I went to watch at the cinema...Fab, gear, rock on!
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on 28 July 2011
That it was originally a play (by Ann Jellicoe) is obvious from the way some of the dialogue is presented, that it is a 60s romp is also very quickly established. It is incredibly similar to Lesters 'Hard Days Night' in its lack of genre, mix of madcap and apparently pointless dialogue/ monologues. I prefer it to Hard Days Night, probably because as much as I loved The Beatles actors they were not.

The plot, such as it is, is about the Brooks character (a seductive lounge lizard of the highest order) teaching the Crawford character how to get The Knack. The Knack is of course how to have sex with a LOT of women, and this is illustrated ad nauseam, beginning with a scene in the house where an endless stream of nubile and identically dressed young women are hanging about everywhere for the privilege of being chosen by the total sleazebag. Brooks is extremely well cast in this role as he is very good looking, but his voice is the real clincher - I can see why women would have had a problem saying no! But seriously, for any person who has a scrap of awareness it does come across as manipulative to the point of pathology, and the scene where Tushinghams character goes around saying 'rape' illustrates for me what happened with men and women in this world. My interpretation is that it is about the regret of consent, realising that you have been 'played' and if you had known his genuine intentions beforehand you would never have said yes. Therefore it is not that that scene makes light of rape as such, it is simply that whilst it cannot be technically or legally held as rape a woman can feel she has been raped when after she is thrown out with the rubbish.

I feel that this serious point is lost, inevitably, as the film is a madcap 60s romp. There is also some fairly pretentious (and dull) twaddle in the dialogue (eg in the Tom characters white room) which does make this an odd mongrel of a film - no real plot, no linear progression of anyone or anything. It is not so intentionally funny as to be called a comedy, and it is definitely not a drama. I do like this film, and will be buying a R2 as I only have a R1 copy, but my favourite 60s film coming from the same culture and time is Georgy girl, a very different animal.
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on 1 April 2005
Just what it really was like in "The Swinging Sixties" rent this DVD and remember... what? How much fun it was to do really whacky things for the sake of it. How pretty all the dolly birds looked. How boring and bigoted the older generation were. How women were simply there as objects of desire. How chatting-up a girl and getting her into bed was the most important thing in a relationship. How sexual promiscuity was revered. How rape was nothing really important. How "things" had no value other than for fun. How smart cinema-photography, overt imagery and rapid-fire, meaningless dialogue could make a film really "important". And... how dull and pointless all of this could be.
Like a bad dream "The Knack" brings these memories flooding back and makes you really glad that you aren't there anymore. And... the really scary thing about it all is that it really was like that, so much so that the film, the truly awful world it portrays and the soul-less people who populate it were seen, at the time, not as some kind of dark satire (which it wasn't intended to be) but as part of a cheekily "hip" comic romp.
Forty years on the only redeeming features it can lay claim to are the wholly unintentional - its numerous shots of London and its streets, shop-fronts, thick winter coats & cars make it an intriguing "timepiece", and... it's the perfect antidote to all the hype & nostalgia about the sixties that the passage of time has enshrined. Essential viewing, but for all the wrong reasons.
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on 24 October 2013
Great vid. transported me back to my younger days in the sixties. I can remember when friends (in our early teens) raved about the film. It was nice to be reminded why.
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on 25 February 2009
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