A Taste of Honey 50th anniversary screening at NFT 07/11/2011


Rita Tushingham, Murray Melvin and the director of photography Walter Lassally will be on stage after the screening.
Just got back from the event, really fantastic to be in the same room with Rita, Murray and Walter.

The film was released in September 1961, but BFI postponed the anniversary screening until today in order to get Walter.
I hadn't watched film for a while, it's still fresh and timeless quality due to all the effort of the cast and crew.

Murray is the only cast member who was in original stage production.
He said that Shelagh's play brought real working class people's life on stage properly. Before A Taste of Honey working class people were portrayed as a clown, weren't taken seriously.

The director Tony Richardson originally intended Freddie Francis as director of photography, but by the time he got money Freddie wasn't available, called Walter Lassally who he worked with a low budget London jazz scene documentary Momma Don't Allow.
Walter said that the success of Saturday Night, Sunday Morning led the film version of A Taste of Honey.
At one point Hollywood producers were interested in making a film starring Audrey Hepburn, but luckily it didn't happen.

Walter is an expert cinematographer using lightweight equipment which was also beneficial to shoot the film entirely on location.
He mentioned about the film stock Ilford HSP which has the grainy quality and effective for this film because it doesn't require much light.

Murray proudly told us that when he was shooting a film H.M.S Defiant, one of the stars of the film Dirk Bogarde thanked him for his oblique performance of Geoff.
At that time somehow the script passed Lord Chamberlain's censorship, otherwise it wouldn't had been made.

I didn't know much about Paul Danquah who plays Jimmy. He is a son of one of the Ghanaian founders and a barrister.
Paul and Tony Richardson were friends so he asked Paul to play the role.
Rita was joked that she had to kiss so many guys before Tony cast Paul.

Murray also said that the audience often commented about the ending, he didn't have to leave, what a horrible woman!
Apparently Hollywood version's had upbeat (sic) ending - Jo has a miscarriage; thank goodness Shelagh didn't approve of it.
According to Walter, they shot longer exit scene of Geoff, but the director didn't use it.
Shooting was very friendly atmosphere and some parts were improvised, sometimes it's hard to keep straight face.

Rita and Dora Bryan didn't have the invitation of after show party of film premiere, they couldn't get in until late film critic Alexander Walker stepped in.

A real classic which will be appreciated forever.
Sounds like a really great way to spend an evening. Not seen this film in years it's due another airing on tv, but they're to busy showing Die Hard again.
I rewatched it on DVD the other night. Haven't laughed and cried that much in a while.
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