A Foreign Country: The Go-Between (1971)

Marian Hammock

Upon arriving at Brandham Hall at the start of Joseph Losey’s 1971 film The Go-Between, Leo Colston (Dominic Guard as a child, Michael Redgrave as an adult) finds much to impress and even overwhelm him: the size and grandeur of the house itself, the paintings covering its walls, the shining silver arrayed in perfect neatness on its tables. He’s particularly struck, however, by two living things. The first is Marian Maudsley (Julie Christie), clad in white and half-hidden by a white parasol as she lounges in a hammock; the second is a deadly nightshade growing on the property. “Atropa belladonna,” Leo explains to his friend Marcus (Richard Gibson), Marian’s younger brother. “It’s poisonous. Every part of it is poisonous.” Beauty masking poison — a symbol, it will turn out, not simply of Marian herself, but of Brandham and upper-class English society as a whole.

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Blind Spot Series: The Innocents (1961)


In Victorian England, a woman named Miss Giddens (Deborah Kerr) applies to become the governess to a pair of young orphaned siblings, Miles (Martin Stephens) and Flora (Pamela Franklin). Their uncle and guardian (Michael Redgrave) wants to ensure that they’re well provided for, but beyond that, he has little interest in getting involved in their lives. He’s more than happy to put Miss Giddens in charge, provided that she leaves him alone. Although she’s somewhat taken aback when he tells her that the children’s last governess died, she accepts the job and sets out for his large, isolated house in the country.

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Of Athletics and Angry Young Men: The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner (1962)

“Running’s always been a big thing in our family — especially running away from the police. It’s hard to understand. All I know is that you’ve got to run, run without knowing why, through fields and woods. And the winning post’s no end, even though barmy crowds might be cheering themselves daft. That’s what the loneliness of the long distance runner feels like.”

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