Screen Icons: Julie Christie Box Set


You can pinpoint to the second when British New Wave cinema fell in love with Swinging London. 25 minutes into Billy Liar (1963) Julie Christie hops out of a truck-driver’s cab with a cheery wave and, ’60s free spirit personified, goes breezing through drab downtown Bradford swinging her handbag. When she grabs the train to London at the end of the movie – leaving behind a sad, lonely town – British cinema follows her. Christie’s a luminous presence in the role that launched her, but it’s Courtney who carries the movie, living out his desperate fantasy life amid the grimy back-to-backs.

Christie landed her first lead role in Darling (1965), and an Oscar to boot. She’s the epitome of ’60s dazzle and flash – party animal, cover girl, compulsive bedhopper, gulping down the thrills of trendy London to hide the void within. Now feeling a little dated, it looks more like an example of pretentious alienation rather than the exposé it was originally hailed as. Like Billy Liar, Darling was directed by John Schlesinger – and so was Far From The Madding Crowd (1967), adapted from Thomas Hardy’s classic novel. A pre-Performance Nic Roeg’s camera luxuriates in the countryside’s glory, but Christie’s miscast as Bathsheba Everdene, landowner in Victorian Dorset, juggling the claims of three suitors.

The only non-Schlesinger film in the set, The Go-Between (1970), is one of Joseph Losey’s pitiless dissections of the English class system, incisively scripted by Harold Pinter from L P Hartley’s novel. Christie’s the rich Edwardian gal with a taste for a bit of rough, using a doting lad as her private messenger. Remember, the past is another country...



Film Details

  • 15
  • UK Theatrical Release Date: March 12th 2007

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