by

The L-Shaped Room

Whoa. It’s London and she’s prey.

The awful landlady weaponizes the British monetary system. She first offers it to her for “3 pounds”, then “50 bob”, and then “2 guineas”, which is “42 shillings”.

Let’s see… I have to google this… just wait a minute…

So 12 pence is 1 shilling (which is the same as a bob)… And five shillings is a Crown… Four Crowns is one pund? So… A pound is 20 bob… And A guinea is 21 shillings…

Oh! She didn’t cheat her! The landlady did reduce the price on every offer. So perhaps she isn’t awful after all?

This is really good! Really odd, but really good. After half an hour, I’m still not sure what it’s supposed to be about, and I like that.

Ah! English cuisine!

OK, now I just don’t understand where this is going… but in a bad way. The people just seem kinda… random.

Everybody’s trying to help Jane get an abortion… without saying the words “abortion” or “pregnancy” or anything related to that, which makes a lot of these conversations kinda abstract. Or rather… excessively genteel.

Was this a British censorship thing?

The cinematography’s good… and I like Leslie Caron and Brock Peters. The storyline started off really intriguing and scary, but now it’s just… getting kinda annoying: It’s now a relationship drama with lots of … drama…

I mean, yes, the point of this movie is that being a single mother is a horrible, horrible, horrible fate, so everybody tries to help Jane with that problem… without asking Jane what she wants. But… it’s…

OK, perhaps this was really incisive and stuff in 1962? But it’s … I’m trying to avoid saying “annoying”.

Oh my god! This song was sampled at the start of The Queen is Dead by The Smiths! I’ve heard it a million times!

It’s so spooky finally hearing sampled bits.

For once, I think the casting is on purpose. A pet peeve of mine is that I can’t tell people apart — these two look the same, the three older women are indistinguishable, the two boyfriends are identical — but I think they did it on purpose here, instead of the normal thing where the casting agent just likes a specific type of woman/man.

Aha! I’m watching the extras now, and the author of the book on which this movie was based says that the director totally butchered the ending. In her book, the protagonist grew and become an independent woman, while in the movie she goes back to her family in France.

Fucking Forbes.

The L-Shaped Room. Bryan Forbes. 1962.

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