A Touch of Class (film)
|A Touch of Class|
original movie poster
|Directed by||Melvin Frank|
|Produced by||Melvin Frank|
|Written by||Melvin Frank
|Music by||John Cameron|
|Release date(s)||June 20, 1973|
|Running time||106 min.|
A Touch of Class is a 1973 British romantic comedy film which tells the story of a couple having an affair, who find themselves falling in love. It stars George Segal, Glenda Jackson, Hildegarde Neil, Paul Sorvino and K Callan.
The lead role of Steve was originally offered to Cary Grant, with a promise by Frank to rewrite the script to play up the age difference between Steve and Vicky. However, Grant opted to remain in retirement from filmmaking, and he turned the role down. He did remain connected to the film, however, as it was produced by Fabergé's Brut Productions, and Grant was on the board of directors for Fabergé.
Glenda Jackson plays Vicky Allessio, a divorced British mother of two. George Segal plays Steve Blackburn, an American married man who 'has never cheated on his wife... in the same town.' After sharing a taxi together Steve invites Vicky to tea, and then lunch, where he takes Vicky up to a hotel room, hoping to have sex. Vicky admits that she would like to have uncomplicated sex, but isn't impressed by the setting, wanting somewhere sunny. Steve arranges a trip to Málaga.
Steve's wife Gloria turns up just as they are about to go, with Vicky travelling as his 'mother', and in turn he arranges and cancels tickets on the plane for his wife, children and in-laws. Once at the airport however Steve bumps into Walter Menkes, (Paul Sorvino) an American movie producer. Unable to admit that he's with Vicky, Steve spends the flight next to Walter, and Vicky sits elsewhere.
On arrival in Málaga, Steve ends up giving the last decent car to Walter to get rid of him, and takes instead an Italian car with an awkward clutch, which he has trouble driving to Vicky's discomfort and annoyance. Once at the hotel, they end up struggling up several flights of stairs in order to find a decent double room.
Once settled the atmosphere becomes awkward, as both argue over their respective sides during sex. Eventually Steve is persuaded to just get on top of her, but turns suddenly and causes a spasm in his back. A doctor is called and Steve is put to sleep, while Vicky sleeps on top of the bedding.
In the morning, Vicky bumps into an American lady and her children, Patty (K Callan) while shopping for her son. She invites Vicky to dinner, but Vicky sharply declines. When Steve finally wakes up Vicky is sunning herself in a bikini on the balcony. The two finally have sex.
Getting dressed after, Steve is disappointed in Vicky's lack of enthusiasm about their sex, and becomes angered. During a game of golf after Vicky becomes offended by Steve's need to beat a local boy, who has bet with him while playing.
As the tension mounts between them, Vicky decides to go to dinner with Patty and Steve arranges dinner with Walter. When they arrive separately, Vicky discovers Patty is Walter's wife and the two are forced into an uncomfortable dinner with the couple. Steve becomes offended when Vicky is amused that Steve's daughter is fat and has crooked teeth. After an argument in the bedroom, Steve and Vicky decide to head back to London. Steve decides not to bother reserving any plane tickets, and as they get to the airport the last two tickets have gone.
Returning to the hotel, they begin to fight and attack each other in the hotel room. Steve grabs Vicky on the bed, almost ripping her dress off. Pulled onto the bed, Steve tries to have sex with her, but can't undo his trouser zip. Vicky responds 'my god, my one chance to be raped, and you can't get your bloody trousers off.' The two collapse laughing and their relationship blossoms over the remainder of the holiday.
Walter and Patty notice their blossoming relationship, and Walter confides to Steve that he had a similar holiday romance. Walter warns that it won't work out, because he won't be able to leave his wife and kids.
Steve decides that he still wants to see Vicky when they get back to London and they get a secret flat together, in a building occupied by 'French' prostitutes. Doing it up together, Steve ends up finding secret opportunities to meet her. Steve takes the dog for a walk to go join her, and on going home, forgets the dog. On another occasion he sneaks out during the symphony, and comes back wearing golf socks, claiming his kids must have mixed his stuff up.
Gradually, the relationship becomes more complicated, as it seems that Vicky is going to a lot of effort to be with him. Steve comes around for sex after a baseball game in the park, and has to leave in a hurry, without staying for coffee. Leaving, he gets flowers and takes them back to her, finding her in the kitchen eating a large meal she'd cooked for the two of them. He leaves without saying anything.
Vicky later cancels lunch with him, which Steve's co-workers have noticed, as his secretary asks if he is having a 'short lunch or a long lunch.' He arranges to meet with her in the evening, despite having a very heavy workload, forgetting that he is attending the theatre with his wife. When his wife then calls demanding to know why he is late for the Harold Pinter play, he tries to call Vicky, but is unable to reach her. Vicky sees Steve and Gloria at the theatre together as she is out shopping for the meal she is cooking. When Steve eventually turns up at their flat, he tells Vicky he's been working late, but she confronts him about the theatre. Eventually she breaks down and sits quietly at the table, concerned that she is 'beginning to sound like a wife.'
The next morning Steve sends a telegram to the flat for Vicky, telling her that it is over between them. However, on returning home later he changes his mind, and runs out the door. Vicky, however has been given the telegram, which he thought had been cancelled, and begins packing her belongings to leave. When Steve gets to the flat, having bought food to cook for them, he finds a record playing and Vicky gone. Looking out the window he sees her standing at the bus stop. He bangs on the window to get her attention but she doesn't seem to notice and gives up waiting for a bus. She walks along and hails a taxi, which another man hails down in an echo of Vicky and Steve in the beginning of the film. Vicky asks the man, who is handsome and smiles, if he is married. When he says yes, Vicky walks off and leaves him the taxi.
- George Segal — Steven 'Steve' Blackburn
- Glenda Jackson — Vicki Allessio
- Hildegarde Neil - Gloria Blackburn
- Paul Sorvino — Walter Menkes
- K Callan — Patty Menkes
- Cec Linder — Wendell Thompson
- Michael Elwyn — Cecil
- Mary Barclay — Martha Thompson
- Nadim Sawalha — Night Hotel Manager
The majority of the cast (Segal, Jackson, Sorvino, Linder) were reunited in the 1979 movie Lost and Found also directed by Melvin Frank. In many respects this was a quasi-sequel to A Touch Of Class, even though none of the characters were recreated, but the storyline followed many similarities and opposites.
The film earned $4,125,600 in North American rentals in 1973.
Awards and nominations
The film won the Academy Award for Best Actress (Glenda Jackson) and was nominated for Best Music, Original Dramatic Score, Best Music, Song (for George Barrie and Sammy Cahn for "All That Love Went to Waste"), Best Picture and Best Writing, Story and Screenplay Based on Factual Material or Material Not Previously Published or Produced. Segal and Jackson won the Golden Globe Awards for Best Actor and Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy respectively. Jackson was also runner-up (to Joanne Woodward) for the New York Film Critics award for Best Actress of 1973.
- "A Touch of Class, Box Office Information". The Numbers. Retrieved January 17, 2012.
- "Big Rental Films of 1973", Variety, 9 January 1974 p 19