Flipside 005: All The Right Noises

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Flipside 005: All The Right Noises

#1 Post by MichaelB » Fri Jul 17, 2009 1:23 pm

Full specs revealed:
ALL THE RIGHT NOISES
A film by Gerry O’Hara


Originally sold with the provocative tagline "Is 15 1/2 too young for a girl? Is one wife enough for one man?", this time-capsule of a film concerns itself with the story of a young married man who has an affair with a teenage girl, and sits as part of a peculiarly 1960s British wave of films exploring such sensitive subject matter (others included Term of Trial, Age of Consent, and Three Into Two Won't Go).

Starring Olivia Hussey, in her first post-Romeo and Juliet role, and the inimitable Tom Bell (The L-Shaped Room, Prime Suspect), this wonderful slice of British cultural history is one of only a handful of feature films directed by Gerry O'Hara, better known for his assistant-director work with such cinema giants as Tony Richardson, Carol Reed and Otto Preminger.

Special features
• Newly transferred to High Definition from original film elements
• Bernard Braden 'Now and Then' interview with Olivia Hussey and Leonard Whiting (1967)
The Spy's Wife (1972, 28 mins): a rare and little-seen short film by O'Hara starring Tom Bell
• Extensive illustrated booklet featuring newly commissioned contributions from film historian Robert Murphy, Gerry O’Hara, and The Spy’s Wife producer Julian Holloway

DVD: DVD9 | Original aspect ratio 1.85:1 (16x9 anamorphic) | PAL | Dolby Digital mono audio (320 kbps)
Blu-ray: BD50 | Original aspect ratio 1.85:1 | 1080 | 24fps | PCM mono audio (48k/24-bit)

UK | 1969 | colour | English, with optional subtitles for the hearing-impaired | 87 minutes

doc mccoy
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Re: Flipside 5: All The Right Noises

#2 Post by doc mccoy » Wed Aug 05, 2009 3:48 pm

I'm considering ordering this one - how are the reviews?

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Re: Flipside 5: All The Right Noises

#3 Post by MichaelB » Thu Aug 20, 2009 4:05 pm

doc mccoy wrote:I'm considering ordering this one - how are the reviews?
Here's DVD Times - the first one that I've spotted.

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Re: Flipside 5: All The Right Noises

#4 Post by cdnchris » Thu Aug 20, 2009 5:43 pm


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Re: Flipside 5: All The Right Noises

#5 Post by MichaelB » Wed Oct 07, 2009 9:12 am


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Re: Flipside 5: All The Right Noises

#6 Post by MichaelB » Sat Feb 13, 2010 5:33 am

Beaver (on the Blu).

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Re: Flipside 5: All The Right Noises

#7 Post by zedz » Wed Mar 16, 2011 7:31 pm

A really good film, this, carried by excellent performances from the three leads (on which this particular subject matter stands or falls, since they have to sell a complex and unlikely group dynamic) and superb, quite unflashy editing by Antony Gibbs (Petulia, Performance, Walkabout). Olivia Hussey, who I'd never previously noted particularly, is especially great in the toughest role.

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Re: Flipside 5: All The Right Noises

#8 Post by MichaelB » Wed Sep 28, 2011 8:57 am

This will be reissued as a Dual Format edition on October 24 - details here.

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Re: Flipside 005: All The Right Noises

#9 Post by colinr0380 » Sun Sep 07, 2014 8:40 pm

"How did they take the news?"
"A few tears, but a bar of chocolate and they're anybodys!"

I agree with zedz on the quality of this film. This struck me as perhaps the most sympathetic and touching film about adultery and sex under the age of legal consent that could possibly be made! This might be overpraising this relatively understated and modest film too much but I got a fairly pronounced Rohmer vibe from the care taken on the relationships in the film - Rohmer's film from a couple of years after this, Love In The Afternoon, would be a great companion piece to it. More so perhaps than the other now controversial and persumably now completely unbroadcastable 'underage sex' films from the same period: Susan George in Twinky, or Pete Walker's Home Before Midnight, and so on.

I was particularly impressed by the way that the film kept playing around with conventional dramatic tensions around the adulterous relationship being found out (the tiring kind of material that most films would have to include to show its characters being punished for their trangressions), and even magnificently plays with this in the very final scene (in which I had to hold my breath about whether I would end up loving or hating the film), but was mature enough to recognise that such imposed morality on the part of the filmmakers wasn't really necessary. The characters may have worked everything out, through luck or judgment, but they all developed and grew in their relationships with each other in fascinating ways, and things aren't going to be as rose tinted as they were.

"I'll be 16 next week. Then it won't be so bad"
"You want a bet?"

I think this also plays into the way that the 'underage sex' angle is the prurient McGuffin used to lure the audience into the cinema, yet really beyond a 32 year old unknowingly having sex with a "15 and 11 months" year old, the real focus of the film is the adulterous relationship in itself, a devastating subject whatever the age of the three parties in the relationship. Of course the guy in this love triangle is the one most at fault and I thought that Tom Bell played the character perfectly as an impetuous chap aware of all of the lines he is crossing but compelled to do so (although taking your lover back to your family home, even if you 'know' everyone is away for the week, is just asking for trouble!), in some ways making him sympathetic despite his actions. Olivia Hussey also has a great role having to grow from obvious childish immaturity (which only helps to underline the dangerous nature of the relationship, for both parties) to a beautifully played dawning understanding that her 'great love' was just a fling, that the guy was never going to leave his wife and children for her, that it would be selfish to want him to, and the whole experience while meaningful was never meant to be a lasting relationship. And as the wife Judy Carne is also playing a character perfectly characterised not as some sort of a harridan forcing her partner to flee into the arms of another woman but as a woman who seems to actually be quite happy with her current life (with her own admirers), her job, children and husband and appears finally to make the choice to not confront in order to keep that life together. All three of the main characters are dealing with very complex relationship matters in a fascinating, quite low key way.

I also liked the way that the relationship with the father was also kept the right side of melodramatic too, despite regularly threatening to go into that territory. Throughout this film I kept thinking that I could imagine the really terrible version of exactly the same basic material, one which would keep layering imposing judgements on top of the characters, but luckily that never really happens as I think this film is more interested in the characters themselves than any particular contrived dramas that it brings up, hence the Rohmer feel to the handling.
SpoilerShow
In some ways the drama not paying off with a giant fight scene, or the three characters left shattered by emotional revelations that lay waste to everyone around them to provide a gigantic moral lesson, in some ways feels much more believable and also a bit more devastating in its implications for all in the way that there isn't a filmicly imposed full stop there: the man has to adapt to losing his lover, the girl has to move on with her life; the wife has to become pragmatic in her relationship with her husband.

I particularly loved the final shot of the film of husband and wife making small talk whilst in the kitchen, suddenly getting drowned out and covered over by the end credits and folksy-Donovan-style song. It is kind of the antithesis of the final staircase-set shot of Cassavetes' Faces in the sense that life truly does go on without all the drama, even with an awareness of your partner's indiscretions.
Other things I noted from the film were that this seems to be from the era when living in a flat in a tower block wasn't purely used as a shorthand signifier for living in deprived circumstances. Our couple here are solidly aspirational working class, albeit with arty jobs that jet set them across the world. Or at least up to Manchester!

I remember the late Peter Sellers film, The Optimists of Nine Elms from 1973, whose theme is all about that enforced move from tightly packed and soon to be demolished tenement streets to brand new glittering tower blocks with their own shopping centres on the ground floor. That film even has a deliriously happy sequence of Sellers and a gang of neighbourhood kids dancing around the concrete forecourts of the empty tower blocks, as if it were the start of a whole new way of life at a better standard of living. Presumably it helped that they were the only five people in the area for that sequence! I wonder how soon the view of tower blocks changed from these optimistic portraits to the Fish Tank/Downtime/Harry Brown portraits of urban living that we have today.

And also something that amusingly dates the film is in the sequence where the adulterers in the family home are intercut with the wife and 'just a friend' co-worker, who in three scenes zoom into an airport by plane, wander across the tarmac into the terminal, then out into a waiting car and off down the almost empty motorway! It is sort of unbelievable now that anyone would be able to get from plane landing to driving off in what looks like about fifteen minutes! Perhaps airports picked up from this film that they need to delay passengers from leaving the terminal as long as possible in order to give adulterers the chance to quickly bundle their lovers safely off home!

The extra short film, The Spy's Wife, is fun in at least allowing the wife to get in on the adulterous action! Nothing amazing but zany fun at the expense of the James Bond craze with lots of shenanigans involving extra-annoying mothers, obnoxious kids and fruitless searches for listening devices, with an amusing twist ending!

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