Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.

Friday, 8 May 2015

Rita and those Sixties boys ...

Time for some praise for that other Rita we like rather a lot: Rita Tushingham - maybe THE girl of the 60s British Film Scene - Julie Christie (whom we adore) may have been its poster girl, followed by Susannah York, wayward Sarah Miles (we like her a lot too, as per label), Sam Eggar and then those Redgrave girls burst on the scene, and the amazing young Charlotte Rampling - and then of course that sad 60s poster girl I shall be discussing shortly: Carol White.  
First out of the post though was Miss Tushingham with A TASTE OF HONEY in 1961 - her Jo, pregnant by a black sailor was sensational stuff back then, aided by Murray Melvin as the gay friend, who gets his marching orders when Jo's feckess mother Dora Bryan in her best role, returns to take charge. Its a fascinating document of that era, grimy black and white, moonlight flits from furnished rooms, at that Salford (or was it Liverpool?) then. Tush was a Liverpool girl, born in 1942. Shelagh Delaney's play was just perfect for her. We like Tony Richardson's lyrical film, typical of Woodfall Films of the time.  

Rita went on to delight us with her brassy blonde selfish young wife in THE LEATHER BOYS in 1964, driving her husband into another man's arms; was the nice girl friend of Mike Sarne in the gritty Dearden film A PLACE TO GO also then, and we love her as the wide-eyed Irish girl in the Edna O'Brien THE GIRL WITH GREEN EYES, also 1964, with Peter Finch (a companion piece to Desmond Davis's I WAS HAPPY HERE, also exploring the London-Irish scene, with Sarah Miles in 1966) . I love the ending of GIRL WITH GREEN EYES where she and Baba (Lynn Redgrave) move to Engand on the ferry (as I did myself many times back then) and we see her working at that W H Smith store in Notting Hill Gate, just across from the Notting Hill Classic cinema - one of my old stomping grounds. 
We simply love her with Lynn again, as Brenda and Yvonne in the 1967 SMASHING TIME - as per posts on that - Rita, Lynn labels - a Swinging London dream as imagined by George Melly ..... Richard Lester's THE KNACK was super too teaming her with young Michael Crawford and full of marvellous sight gags. It captured the moment perfectly. 
Rita also graduated to big movies, appearing in DR ZHIVAGO, co-starring with Marcello Mastroianni in DIAMONDS FOR BREAKFAST in 1968, with Oliver Reed in THE TRAP (one I must get around to...) and Michael York in THE GURU in India, in 1969 for Merchant Ivory. 

In 1977, she was in the Italian GRAN BOLLITO a stunning movie from Mauro Bolognini - see label. She had an extensive later career in television, and still works now. Did she inspire The Beatles' "Lovely Rita, meter maid ..."? 

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