A small cast in a tight environment makes this film look like exactly what it is--a stage play adapted for the screen. Robertson returns to a seaside village in England after having been away for a couple of decades. Redgrave owns a remote hotel and lives there with her daughter, George.
Years before, Robertson and Redgrave had been lovers, so the first question that comes to mind is whether George was the result of their affair, but that is never explained. The two women compete for the dark and somewhat enigmatic Robertson. Redgrave recalls the way it used to be between them,
and George employs a Lolita-like charm to seduce Robertson. This subtly introduces the thought of incest, and the script allows the audience to draw its own conclusions because the matter of which woman wins Robertson is never divulged. This "Lady or the Tiger" ending was quite deliberate on the
parts of the authors, as the matter of which woman ended up with Robertson was deemed unimportant and secondary to the drama that led to the conclusion.
George was 25 when the film was made and a bit too old to play a pouty teenager. Though the film was made in England, the two writers and executive producer Robert Enders are all Americans. Enders did several films with Glenda Jackson, some of which he wrote, and has had his greatest film success
in England, after having produced TV shows in the US in the 1960s. The unproduced play upon which the film is based was titled "Winter Rates" and had been optioned by producer Alexander Cohen, who wanted Harold Pinter to direct and Pinter's then wife Vivien Merchant to star. Pinter got another
offer, and the project lingered until John Roberts, formerly of the Royal Shakespeare Company, left that august body to open his own stage production firm. He optioned the play but died of a heart attack soon afterward, and writers Bercovici and Bercovitch decided the play was jinxed and put it on
the shelf. Bercovitch then became the head of production at Lorimar, which was about to go into the film business. Lorimar, headed by Merv Adelson and Lee Rich, was heavily involved in television and wanted to expand but didn't care to risk a great deal of money, so Bercovitch suggested they do a
European coproduction. The bosses agreed and Bercovitch began searching for the right material. He read hundreds of scripts, books, and articles, but couldn't find the right story. When his wife suggested he film the play, Bercovitch hesitated, lest he be accused of being self-serving. But he read
the play again as objectively as he could, consulted with Bercovici, then decided to hand it to Adelson and let him make the decision. Adelson thought it was well-written and gave the green light.
Cast & Details See all »
- Released: 1975
- Rating: R
- Review: A small cast in a tight environment makes this film look like exactly what it is--a stage play adapted for the screen. Robertson returns to a seaside village in England after having been away for a couple of decades. Redgrave owns a remote hotel and lives… (more)