Shelagh Delaney's play, which clicked both in the West End and on Broadway, has an earthy gusto and sincerity that lift its somewhat downbeat theme and drab surroundings. It has humor, understanding and poignance. Oddly enough the dialog, though pointedly couched in the semi-illiterate vernacular of the lower-class North Country working folk, archives at times a halting and touching form of poetry.

Shelagh Delaney’s play, which clicked both in the West End and on Broadway, has an earthy gusto and sincerity that lift its somewhat downbeat theme and drab surroundings. It has humor, understanding and poignance. Oddly enough the dialog, though pointedly couched in the semi-illiterate vernacular of the lower-class North Country working folk, archives at times a halting and touching form of poetry.

The film faithfully follows the narrative of the play. But the camera effectively gets into the streets and captures the gray drabness of the locals as well as the boisterous vulgarity of Blackpool, saloons and dance-halls. Yarn primarily concerns five people and their dreams, hopes and fears. They are Jo (Rita Tushingham); her flighty, sluttish neglectful mother; the fancy man her mother marries; a young Negro ship’s cook with whom Jo has a brief affair which leaves her pregnant; and a sensitive young homosexual who gives her the tenderness aand affection lacking in her relationship with her mother.

Film introduces 19-year-old Rita Tushingham as the 16-year-old schoolgirl. She plays with no makeup, her hair is untidy, her profile completely wrong by all accepted standards; but her expressive eyes and her warm, wry smile are haunting.

Dora Bryan tackles the role of the flighty, footloose mother with confidence and zest. The three men in the lives of daughter and mother are also played with keen insight by Robert Stephens, Paul Danquah and Murray Melvin. Perhaps the most difficult role is that of Melvin. He repeats the success he made of the part of the young homosexual in the play.

A Taste of Honey

UK

Production

Woodfall. Director Tony Richardson; Producer Tony Richardson; Screenplay Shelagh Delaney, Tony Richardson; Camera Walter Lassally; Editor Antony Gibbs; Music John Addison; Art Director Ralph Brinton

Crew

(B&W) Available on VHS. Extract of a review from 1961. Running time: 100 MIN.

With

Dora Bryan Rita Tushingham Robert Stephens Murray Melvin Paul Danquah
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