I read someone’s post today on sex, why are we not opposed to watching violence but get embarrassed about watching sex on the screen, true. It reminded me of many years ago well a long time ago now, I was in my Twenties working for the Prudential in Holborn Bars, London, and had arranged to take a half day off.
I arranged to go and see a film with a friend, a Lady much older than me, but I was so fond of her and she worked in the accounts section, my Mother was coming up from our home in Ilford, Essex to see the film as well.
Both Pat and my Mother both being from Southern Ireland – Pat Dublin very well off and my Mother from West Cork, and poor working class, yet they both remember the “Troubles” as it was called in Eire around 1914 onwards, both being school girls but from different backgrounds.
The film was being shown at Leicester Square famous then and now for its Film Premiers. Anyway all three of us headed to the West End of London and Leicester Square, I bought the film programme, still have it somewhere. All was going well, I kept looking at my mother to see if she was enjoying it, because she never hardly went anywhere with me – even after I married and had my two Sons, my Mother only ever came out with me once with my first Son in his pram, and she was embarrassed by his crying. Hard to believe I know, my mother would always tell me “I have too much cleaning to do at home”, so I knew her watching the film she would rather be at home cleaning.
The film was shot in the most fabulous location between Slea Head and Dunmore Head, Dingle Peninsula, Southern Ireland. A beach to die for, I could just imagine myself on the back of a Horse galloping along the sands, not that I can ride, I just love Horses – any animals come to that. I diverse, the film it starred the wonderful ruggedly handsome Robert Mitchum, fancied him and Sarah Miles never been a Fan. Trevor Howard as the Priest, Christopher Jones as the English (bounder!) Officer on leave from the First World War and the most outstanding performance by John (Sir) Mills as the Village idiot, sorry but thats what he was called. The film was by Sir David Lean, the magical David Lean whose work should never be forgotten.
All went well with the film until the Romance between the English Officer and the Wife of the School master (Robert Mitchum), the Wife was played by Sarah Miles. It was tender and also passionate and running along was, sorry for the pun, the “gun running” that took place. A cache of arms sent by the Germans to aid the Irish Rebels with their fight against the British.
Sarah Miles would go horse riding as would the English Officer, and Michael played by John Mills saw them, the Priest could see for himself what was going on but did the Husband (Robert Mitchum) know?
Anyway I’m not going to spoil the film for you if you ever get the chance to see it, do so its a really good film, superbly shot wonderful scenery everything you expect from a David Lean film.
What I wanted to say was at one passionate scene in the woods, with Bluebells all around with the Lovers on the ground and the “dirty rotter” as my Mother called the English Officer as he opened the blouse of Sarah Miles and she was exposed just as it got interesting and I was certainly enjoying it, the PALM of a HAND was slapped across my Right Eye, then another Hand PALM was slapped across my Left Eye and I was told “you are not seeing this” from one end and the other “filth, look what you brought me to”. Did my Mother enjoy the film NO, all I got on the way home was “how could you take me to see that, even poor Pat was embarrassed”. When we got home my mother wasted no time in telling Daddy what a filthy film it was “I’m sure it wasn’t that bad” he said smiling at me. The question is; did my Mother or Pat watch that so called filthy scene? I bet they did and enjoyed it.
It took me years before I actually saw the film, that was on TV and I sat down and did I enjoy it, I watch it everytime it comes on. Was on a few months back.
Catholic Irish Mother, Catholic Irish Friend, should have gone on my own. When I was a teenager, I was going to the cinema with my sister, could not go unless I had an escort believe it or not. I was so looking forward to the film it was called “Summer Love”, the Priest called around it was a nice sunny warm hot Summers day and the Priest asked what we were going to do I said innocently “the cinema” “what’s the film” the Priest asked, “Summer Love” I said. “No, no Mrs Morrissey” he said to my Mother, “you must not allow them to see that, its filthy all about sex they are too young” – too young I was around 15 my sister was four years older.
I never did get to see the film, and now I am even more annoyed about it, as my favourite Poet, writer, composer singer Rod McKuen was in it. Never shown on tv, I guess I will never see it. Some lovely Gentleman that I purchased one of Rod McKuen’s LPs from he kindly sent me a video of one of the westerns Rod made with Maureen O’Sullivan as his mother, this lovely man had recorded it from tv, I am so grateful to him.
My youngest Son if he comes into the living room or my bedroom and I am watching a film he goes “sex again” and I say “yes” and he laughs. I had never seen “Last Tango in Paris” I remember it was always the talk about “the butter”. Well about three years ago one day when I was in such pain I sat down put the tv on and decided to watch a film I had recorded a few nights back but did not see “The Last Tango in Paris”, it was alright, was I shocked well surprised I suppose never having a “passionate marriage” myself, not for the want of trying. Better stop here. I don’t get embarrassed by sex scenes, but then I don’t watch those Real Sex Films, violent sex etc. My Sons, don’t easily get embarrassed, we brought them up not to be ashamed of the human body. I love to look at art and some of the most famous Painters had painted many a body, I like some sculptures of the naked body – what is there to be embarrassed about. A lovely chap I know had a great drawing done of him, by a very talented Lady, I am having it framed and hopefully this week or next it will be hanging on my wall.
There you go, my review or partial of Ryan’s Daughter, watch out for the woods Bluebells scene. Anna
Sir David Lean, excelled himself again – Ryan’s Daughter. Thanks to “Trevor”