…In relentless pursuit of all performances nominated and won!
I had the great pleasure of meeting the lovely Lynn Redgrave last year when she was the master teacher for the 2009 Lunt-Fontanne Fellows at my place of employment, Ten Chimneys (the home of the famous acting couple, Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne). I can say without hesitation that Ms. Redgrave is an absolute delight, a consummate professional, and a truly charming lady – as she also was in her 1966 film, Georgy Girl, for which she secured her one and only Oscar nomination as Best Actress (so far!).
Redgrave stars as Georgina – aka, ‘Georgy’ – Partin, a plain, somewhat frumpy and plump London girl with a true heart of gold. Georgy teaches music lessons to neighborhood children in the upper floors of the home of her father’s wealthy employer (her father being a butler of sorts). The employer, James Leamington (James Mason) lives with a sickly, impersonal wife whose indifference causes him to take a fancy to Georgy, and he proposes to her on the sly that that she become his mistress. Not accustomed to being an object of desire, for she is acutely aware of her plainness and unattractiveness, Georgy shies away from Leamington’s advances and instead develops a mad crush on Jos (Alan Bates), the rapscallion boyfriend of her selfish and vain flat-mate Meredith (Charlotte Rampling). When Meredith becomes pregnant with Jos’s child and scorns bringing it up, she delivers the baby over to a very obliging and warm Georgy, who takes the baby and Jos into her heart immediately. The benevolent Georgy is destined to be hurt once again by Jos and his wild ways. In the background, Leamington still has his eye on Georgy and intends to sweep in and ultimately rescue her and the child she is now responsible for.
I purposefully do not give too much of the story away for, as convoluted a plot and love triangle as it sounds, Georgy Girl is surprisingly a very charming film that begs viewing and comes highly recommended from yours truly. At its heart, of course, is a profoundly moving and genuine performance by Lynn Redgrave. Despite the script demands that Georgy be a plain and frumpy girl, Redgrave instills Georgy with such warmth, humor, naiveté, and gentle bravado that you cannot deny the loveliness that radiates from her in each and every scene. We fall in love with Georgy because she is refreshing, optimistic, comedic, and incredibly endearing.
I feel truly blessed that I have met this amazing and supremely talented woman… and look forward to seeing her again this summer. Bravo, Ms. Redgrave. You did yourself immensely proud with this one, and deserved that nomination!
Interestingly enough, Redgrave was up against her sister, Vanessa, in Morgan! this very same year. Both talented siblings lost the Oscar to Elizabeth Taylor’s bravura performance as Martha in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? I am a huge fan of Taylor’s performance in that film, and therefore am extremely hesitant to deny her the win. I cannot help but feel, however, that for this charming little film about this supremely genuine girl named Georgy, Redgrave may have been next in line for the honor that year – her performance is indeed that good. (And admit it, for those of you familiar with the theme song, sung by the Seekers, haven’t you now got that tune buzzing around in your head as you read this? Haha!)