A Taste of Honey (1961) Film Review B+

A Taste of Honey
DIRECTOR: Tony Richardson
BOTTOM LINE: Tony Richardson’s adaptation of the Sheila Delaney play still shines. Delaney wrote the screenplay with Richardson, who directed the original Broadway production of the play in 1960. The film exemplifies a gritty British film genre that has come to be called kitchen sink realism. Rita Tushingham, who embodied the spirit of British Independent Cinema in the early through the mid-sixties, plays seventeen-year-old Jo, who lives in a run-down, post-industrial area of Salford in the British Midlands. One day, Jo meets Jimmy, a cook on a boat on the Manchester Ship Canal. After a one-night stayover, Jo discovers that she is pregnant. Wanting to keep the baby but not wanting to marry Jimmy, Jo moves in with her best friend Geoff (Murray Melvin), a gay man who says that he will marry Jo and take care of her and the baby. Although he was playing a teenager, gay actor Murray Melvin was almost thirty when he made “A Taste of Honey.” One of the first openly gay actors, Melvin often worked with Richardson and director Ken Russell. His most famous movie scene is the card game in Stanley Kubrick’s “Barry Lyndon” with its natural candlelight and Schubert’s Piano Trio in E Flat on the soundtrack. Dora Bryan is particularly memorable as Tushingham’s self-centered and alcoholic mother.

STREAMING: Amazon Prime and Apple TV+





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