If for nothing else – but film has more – Ken Russell’s screen translation of The Boy Friend is a beautiful vehicle for Twiggy, a clever young performer. It is delightful entertainment, novel and engaging.
Russell, who also directed and scripted the Sandy Wilson musical, has adopted a play within a play concept for the telling. Film might be a glorification of the Busby Berkeley manner of production. Russell has expanded the play into a kaleidoscope of the dance director’s techniques during his heyday.
Narrative revolves around the personal lives of a group of repertory players who stage an English provincial production of The Boy Friend, and a film director strives to catch the performance.
Twiggy plays the unsophisticated young assistant stage manager – also errand and jack-of-all-trades girl – suddenly thrust into top role when the star injures her ankle. (Glenda Jackson unbilled, cameos as the injured ‘star’.)
Twiggy acquits herself charmingly and professionally. There’s an unspoiled charm about her, and she weaves a spell of her own both with her singing and dancing.
1971: Nomination: Best Adapted Score