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Killing of Sister George

Beryl Reid , Susannah York , Robert Aldrich    R (Restricted)   DVD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
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Product Description


"Sister George" of the title is Britain's best-loved soap opera character, played by actress June Buckeridge (Beryl Reid). Buckeridge has become so identified with her character--a sweet old Miss Marple-ish nurse who putters around her quaint little village on a motor scooter--even her friends call her George. But outside the studio she's a hard-drinking, hot-tempered, foul-mouthed lesbian living with an immature young thing she's nicknamed "Childie" (Susannah York, who makes her memorable entrance in a sheer baby-doll nightie). At her worst Sister George is an abusive monster (in a moment of rage she forces Childie to eat the butt of her cigar), but beneath the bluster is an insecure television actress. When the studio decides to kill her character off and an executive makes a play for Childie, the soap star desperately clings to her young lover. Director Robert Aldrich, best known for his tough action films and gothic thrillers, brings his fierce vision of human nature to Frank Marcus's play. In its best moments the film simmers in angry suspicion and helpless frustration, brought to life by Reid's vivacious performance, but other scenes are overlong and stage-bound and would have benefited greatly from judicious trimming and tightening. The caricatured portrayals of lesbian life have aged rather poorly--an inevitable sign of the times--but this acidic show biz drama still carries a hefty emotional punch. --Sean Axmaker

Product Description

Director Robert Aldrich (The Dirty Dozen) turns up the heat in this steamy, provocative and "expertly executed movie" (Los Angeles Times) starring Beryl Reid and Susannah York. Sexy, "sensitive [and] darkly humorous" (Boxoffice), The Killing of Sister George is a racy romp that's "entertaining" (Leonard Maltin), "explicit and sensational" (Life).June (Reid) is the star of a TV soap opera and she has the ego to prove it. But when she begins to suspect that the network is planning to kill off her characterand that her boss is out to seduce her beautifulyoung lover (York)June spirals out of control. And as she's transformed from demanding diva intohair-trigger harridan, TV's grandest of dames proves that underneath it all'she ain't no lady.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars The Killing of Sister George Oct. 17 2013
Format:VHS Tape|Verified Purchase
This movie deals with lesbian relationships
and follows the breakdown of one such
relationship between an middle-aged
radio actress and her much younger partner
The dialogue and acting was excellent
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A camp Classic. Dec 27 2001
Beryl Reed is gives an amazing performance as the lecherous Sister George. Many people have condemned this film as being anti lesbian, but I feel it is a study in abusive behavior and the insecurities that feed it. It's also very campy and a hoot. Susannah York as Childie and Coral Browne ( Vera Charles in Auntie Mame) also give very brave and wonderful performances considering this movie was made in the sixties. The story is of a lechorous lesbian who plays a nun on a British Soap Opera.On screen she is kindly and a total humanitarian; offstage is something else altogeher. George is an alcholic lesbian who abuses her younger lover and comes on to real nuns in their taxi cabs. When the BBC threatens to write her out of the soap opera due to her scandalous off-screen behavior, a paranoid lesbian becomes even more abusive. See it for the wonderful performances and sixties sensibilities of gays.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By Bill
Format:VHS Tape
It is a very good example of this type of cinema from the late sixties when directors loved to take all kinds of chances with their subject matter, not like today's pre-packaged films. That three such outstanding actresses as Beryl Reid, Coral Browne and Susannah York were willing to go along with Aldrich for the ride I find just amazing. Beryl Reid in particular shines, although all three put in stupendous performances. I have heard people criticize the film for being dated, but I don't find that a real criticism at all. The enlightened film-goer has to be receptive to other times, other mind-sets, other ways of feeling. If any film invites the viewer to cross those barriers, this one does. Yes, it is overly long, and could probably have been cut down to half its present length. That is the films great flaw, but like most good films which seem overly long upon first viewing, it's impact stays with you. If you can make it past the two-hour mark, I don't think you will find that this film is lacking anything in quality, sensitivity, or the cumulative power to move. Just excellent.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic July 18 2000
By A Customer
This movie is a lot of fun if you do not take it too seriously. It is set in the late 60's London and features the late great Beryl Reid as a soap star under threat at work and home. Great scenes of the Gateways club in London and the owners - Gina and Smitty as well as some of the regulars, who are used as extras. It is not for the faint at heart; there is a very funny scene involving an intoxicated Beryl Reid (George) and a couple of nuns in a taxi cab! If you are looking for a movie depicting a healthy lesbian relationship/love story then this is not for you!
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Whatever Happened to Sister George? May 3 2004
Format:VHS Tape
The blurb on the packaging reminds the viewer that THE KILLING OF SISTER GEORGE comes to us "from the makers of WHATEVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE." If you had not known that Robert Aldrich directed and that Lukas Heller was responsible for the script, you still might have guessed as much. Both films are lurid, over the top and are nowadays considered to be camp classics. Neither is a cinematic masterpieces, to be sure, but both have their moments.
SISTER GEORGE came by its notoriety legitimately. A number of gay and lesbian themed movies were coming out in the late 60s. Unlike, say, THE FOX or THERESE AND ISABELLE, though, KSG was unabashedly garish. No literary pretensions here. Whether it was simply trading in stereotypes is a subject of some debate. It is clear that ultimately, "George" is meant to be a sympathetic character; her plight--losing her job and her lover on the same day--is one we're supposed to identify with. Some will, of course, but the failure of the movie is that many more will not. Aldrich and co. mean to portray George in all her complexity, but we never really find out what makes her tick.
And that is much of the trouble with "camp classics": characters like George are supposed to be sympathetic and ridiculous at the same time. To say nothing of being bitchy, bitchy, bitchy. It's a lot to ask of any script writer, or any actress.
Beryl Reid's acclaimed performance is indeed the best thing about the movie. She does suggest some of the character's inner conflicts and self-doubt. But she is all too often in full-harangue mode. It's ultimately wearying. As for Susannah York, she never mangages to project the vulnerability that her child-woman character is supposed to possess.
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