12 April 2009

Manic Monday - Taste



Most people think of the 1960s as a sort of technicolor, hippie, war protester, drug fueled time. That was actually the late 60s. The early 60s were just barely moving out of an Ozzie and Harriet world. Things that would barely ruffle feathers on the family channel today, were a cause of shock and dismay then. Motion pictures of the time were just starting to push the limits with the daring, black and white "New Wave" films that explored shocking themes and working class unglamorous characters. You almost never really "saw" anything more daring than a kiss, but you "knew" what was going on.

The British films of the type that became hits in the states were ones such as Alfie, Georgie Girl, Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, and the one that fits today's Manic Monday theme: A Taste of Honey. Based on a play from the 1950s, it is still a favored play for small theater groups. It was a major shocker when it hit the theaters. It had everything: unmarried sex, inter racial relationship, unwed pregnancy, and homosexuality. Even worse it was tender, sweet, sad, and funny with very flawed characters and great acting . If you were Catholic, you had to go to confession just for watching it. Here is the IMDB plot summary.

Jo (Rita Tushingham) is an awkward, shy 17-year-old girl living with her promiscuous alcoholic mother, Helen (Dora Bryan). Desperately longing to simply be loved, when her mother's latest "romance" drives Jo out of their apartment, she spends the night with a black sailor on a brief shore leave. But when Jo's mother abandons her to move in with her latest lover, Jo finds a job and a room for herself, meets Geoffrey (Murray Melvin), a shy and lonely homosexual, and allows him to share her flat. When she discovers that she is pregnant with the sailor's child, Geoffrey, grateful for her friendship, looks after her, even offering marriage. Their brief taste of happiness is short-lived for Jo's fickle and domineering mother, her own romantic hopes dashed, appears on the scene, determined to drive the gentle Geoffrey from the flat and take over the care of her daughter, rearranging everything to suit herself.

What makes this movie a standout is the incredible acting and reality of the working class characters, including the BAFTA Award for Best Actress that went to Rita Tushingham. Unfortunately, it is only available of video tape except in Britain, and the British DVDs don't work on North American machines. It is available on You Tube, but you have to watch it in ten minute doses starting HERE. Part 2; Part 3; Part 4; Part 5; Part 6; Part 7; Part 8; Part 9. If not watching it here, keep an eye out on TMC.

The title song was an instrumental hit for Herb Alpert and was later recorded by the Beatles during the German nightclub period.



10 comments:

Tink *~*~* said...

Cool song - I do vaguely remember the Herb Alpert version of this playing on AM radio back in the 60s. And you're right, no one would blink at the unmarried cross-racial sex or the homosexuality today. Those aspects would just be part of the texture of the tale today.

Tink *~*~*
Sanibel Island’s Over Easy Cafe

anthonynorth said...

That's a great film, and you still see Rita and Dora on UK TV now and again.

Ivanhoe said...

That sure sounds like a pretty daring movie for the 60's. I'll keep an eye on TMC for it.
Have a wonderful Monday :o)

carol g said...

Great MM again, Jamie. I actually saw Herb Alpert perform this song in concert at Yale University waaaaaaaaay back then.

Linda said...

I remember the Herb Alpert version as my parents had several albums of his and the Tijuana Brass. Never knew that was where it came from, though.

I've got to agree with Ivana, that's quite the risque movie for the early 60's but leave it to the Brits to be more likely to tackle those sorts of issues!

Thom said...

Wonderful post. The song was great :) I had forgotten all about Herb Alpert. What a movie for the 60's but I'm glad there are those out there that are will to take risks like that. Have a great Monday and rest of the week :)

Marilyn said...

Maybe I can get my husband to record it off of TMC. You always have the best MM posts.

This Eclectic Life said...

I remember when that came out. Momma wouldn't let me go see it. Guess I'll have to see if I can find it. I always loved Herb Alpert ... is he still living? You would know the answer to that question!

Jamie said...

Alpert is not only alive but very involved in all sorts of art activities and creation through his foundation. His full bio is on Wiki HERE

Travis said...

Excellent selection. And I am a Herb Alpert fan.