Review: ‘The Virgin and the Gypsy’

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.

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.

The Virgin and the Gypsy

UK

Production

De Grunwald. Director Christopher Miles; Producer Kenneth Harper; Screenplay Alan Plater; Camera Bob Huke; Editor Paul Davies; Music Patrick Gowers; Art Director Terence Knight

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS. Extract of a review from 1970. Running time: 95 MIN.

With

Joanna Shimkus Franco Nero Honor Blackman Mark Burns Maurice Denham Fay Compton
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