Reviews

Screen Icons: Julie Christie Box Set

4

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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