D. H. Lawrence’s last unpolished novella, The Virgin and the Gypsy is about a young English girl’s awakening to adult life in northern England, circa 1921. While faithful perhaps to the author, film is a stilted period piece.
Joanna Shimkus and Harriett Harper are two rural sisters returning from a French school to a provincial environment, ruled by grandmother Fay Compton. Puppets in the household include rector-father Maurice Denham, aunt Kay Walsh, uncle Norman Bird, and maid Janet Chappell.
Shimkus (whose mother abandoned her family’s stultifying influence) grows restive, and finds a sexual stirring under Franco Nero’s gaze, plus sympathetic adult companionship from Honor Blackman and Mark Burns, who are living together and evoking prissy clucks from the townsfolk.