Girl with Green Eyes
|Girl with Green Eyes|
|Directed by||Desmond Davis|
|Written by||Edna O'Brien|
|Produced by||Oscar Lewenstein|
|Edited by||Brian Smedley-Aston|
|Music by||John Addison|
|Distributed by||United Artists Corporation (UK)|
Lopert Pictures Corporation (US)
Girl with Green Eyes is a 1964 British film, which Edna O'Brien adapted from her novel The Lonely Girl. It tells the story of a young, naive country girl's romance with a sophisticated older man. Directed by Desmond Davis, the film stars Peter Finch, Rita Tushingham, Lynn Redgrave and Julian Glover. As the film is in black and white the green eyes are never seen.
The film studies the blossoming relationship between a young girl and a man twice her age, but with her controlling much of he relationship.
The film is an excellent showcase of Dublin itself covering many landmark sites especially on the river side.
Kate Brady, a young girl just out of convent school, moves from her family home in the rural Irish countryside to Dublin, where she works in a grocery shop and rooms with her friend and schoolmate, Baba Brennan. The girls go dancing at clubs and date young men they meet, but the down-to-earth Baba is more socially adept than shy, romantic Kate. On a ride to the countryside with one of Baba's boyfriends, the girls meet Eugene Gaillard, a sophisticated middle-aged author.
Kate is attracted to him, and when she happens to see him again in a Dublin bookshop, uncharacteristically approaches him and strikes up a conversation. A friendship, and later a romantic relationship, develops between Kate and Eugene despite their age difference. Although clearly in love, and happy to join him in bed, she is unable to have sex. The repeated inability to have sex with Eugene starts to take its toll. The relationship worsens on her discovery that he is married with a child, although separated from his wife who has gone to the United States to obtain a divorce.
When Kate's father learns that his daughter is seeing a married man and thus apparently committing adultery, he and his friends go to Dublin and force Kate to return to his rural home. She sneaks out on the first morning but is waylaid by a cowhand. Later when the priest begins to lecture her she runs off. She returns to Eugene. Kate's father and his friends appear unexpectedly and punch Eugene in the face, but are driven off by his no-nonsense housekeeper Josie, who fires a shotgun at the ceiling and threatens them with the second barrel, forcing them to leave. Kate and Eugene then finally succeed in consummating their relationship.
He buys her a ring and Kate treats it as a wedding ring. She starts wearing make-up and wearing her hair up, looking much more sophisticated. She tells a stranger "I got married today". They live together for a time.
Eventually, Kate becomes unhappy as Eugene does not share her Catholic beliefs, his friends do not regard Kate seriously, and he continues to correspond with his estranged wife, for whom he still has some feelings. When Eugene's wife sends a plane ticket Kate gives him an ultimatum to choose but he does not react as she wishes and it is the beginning of the end.
Kate leaves Eugene and returns to Baba, who is packing to move to London. She invites Kate to come along with her. Kate hopes that Eugene will come after her and she looks expectantly at the people on the dock edge as they sail off. He does not appear. Instead he sends word through Baba that their break-up is probably for the best. He wishes he had been younger or she had been more mature.
- Rita Tushingham as Kate Brady
- Lynn Redgrave as Baba Brennan
- Peter Finch as Eugene Gaillard
- Marie Kean as Josie Hannigan
- Arthur O'Sullivan as James Brady
- Julian Glover as Malachi Sullivan
- T. P. McKenna as Father Brown the priest
- Lislott Goettinger as Joanna
- Pat Laffan as Bertie Counihan
- Eileen Crowe as Mrs. Byrne
- May Craig as Aunt
- Joe Lynch as Andy Devlin
- Yolande Turner as Mary Maguire
- Harry Brogan as Jack Holland
- Michael Hennessey as Davey
- Joe O'Donnell as Patrick Devlin
- Micheal O'Briain as Lodger
- David Kelly as Ticket Collector
In the New York Times, Bosley Crowther wrote "Girl with Green Eyes is another of those remarkably fresh and natural films that have come from the Woodfall organisation, which is sparked by protean Tony Richardson and which has given us such a dazzling range of pictures as A Taste of Honey, Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner and Tom Jones. While it is not as ambitious or extensive as any of those, it is a wonderfully tender, touching and humorous little drama of a lonely Irish girl." Similarly, Variety wrote that the film "has the smell of success," and that director "Davis is imaginative, prepared to take chances and has the sympathy to draw perceptive performances from his cast."