Sunday, February 19, 2017

Seekers – "Georgy Girl" (1966)

You're always window-shopping
But never stopping to buy

When I was a teenager, it seemed like the 1966 film Georgy Girl was on television quite often.  But I’m not sure I ever watched the whole movie, and it’s been a long time since I said goodbye to being a teenager, so I can’t say I remember much about the movie.

Here's the opening credit sequence:

Here’s how the Turner Classic Movies website summarizes the plot of Georgy Girl:  

Georgy Parkin [played by Lynn Redgrave] is a plump and somewhat forlorn creature who partially disapproves of her parents working as servants in the palatial London home of middle-aged James Leamington [James Mason] and his ailing, forever-complaining wife [who is portrayed by Lynn Redgrave’s real-life mother, Rachel Kempson].  

Resigned to her fate as one of life's misfits, Georgy shares a flat with a beautiful but cold and amoral violinist named Meredith [Charlotte Rampling], who regards Georgy as little more than an unobtrusive convenience who keeps the apartment neat and tidy.  In return, Georgy is able to share vicariously in Meredith's numerous love affairs, particularly a long-standing affair with Jos [Alan Bates], a madcap Cockney.  

One day, to her astonishment, Georgy is informed by Mr. Leamington that he would like her to become his mistress and that he has taken the trouble to have legal papers drawn up on their “agreement.”  Georgy, however, chooses to remain a virginal observer in her flat with Meredith, who reveals that she has become pregnant for the third time by Jos.  

On the previous occasions Meredith had undergone abortions, but this time Jos persuades her to marry him and have his child.  Georgy is thrilled to stay on at the flat and keep house for them.  While Meredith is at the hospital giving birth, Jos – first playfully, then seriously – seduces Georgy, and in the days that follow they live together idyllically.  

Consequently, when Meredith, who intends to put her unwanted baby up for adoption, learns of the love between Georgy and Jos, she gladly turns the infant over to them and blithely returns to her former life.  For a time Georgy and Jos are happy, but Jos soon becomes restless and a little annoyed at Georgy's lavishing all of her love upon the baby.  

In an attempt to regain Georgy's undivided love, Jos takes her on a boat trip and clowns about pathetically in the hope they can recapture their lighthearted intimacy.  Both realize, however, that something has gone out of their love, and when Jos eventually moves out, Georgy knows that the authorities will soon come and take her beloved baby away from her.  

All is not lost, however; for Mr. Leamington, whose wife has since died, comes to the rescue.  If Georgy will marry him, he will adopt the child.  Mr. Leamington thus wins his “Georgy Girl,” and Georgy happily keeps her baby and prepares for a life of upper-class matrimonial comfort.

Based on that plot summary, why would anyone want to see this movie?

Rampling is beautiful, and Bates is charming, and Mason is always compelling to watch on the big screen.  But their Georgy Girl characters are repulsive.  

Who’s the worst of the three?  My vote goes to Rampling’s truly despicable Meredith, but the two males are pretty bad.

Here's the final scene – not exactly a happy ending, eh?

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The movie’s theme song was a worldwide hit for the Seekers, who were the first Australian pop music group to hit it big in the UK and U.S.  

Seekers lead singer Judith Durham
The song is heard at the beginning and end of the movie, but with different lyrics.  The lyrics for the “Georgy Girl” single varied from both movie versions.

“George Girl” was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Song, but lost out to the Born Free theme song.  

Here’s “Georgy Girl”:

Click below to buy the song from Amazon:

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