Based on the 1934 play by Lillian Hellman, William Wyler directs a film ahead of its time in terms of social statement.
Best friends Karen (Audrey Hepburn) and Martha (Shirley MacLaine) manage an exclusive girl's school where student Mary (Karen Balkin) is punished for one of her many misdeeds. The mean-spirited youngster rushes to her wealthy Aunt Amelia (Fay Bainter), and, randomly choosing a phrase she has undoubtedly read in some magazine, accuses the teachers of having an "unnatural relationship”.
As the lies grow in viciousness, the student's parents withdraw their children from the school. Karen and Martha sue for libel, but the trial takes its toll on those involved, including the relationship between Karen and her boyfriend (James Garner).
This film is part of:
Screening Diversity in the British Cinema
A Special Event at Chichester Cinema at New Park
In a few weeks we will screen three other films of the period which, in raising similar issues, tested and extended the boundaries drawn by the British Board of Film Censors: ‘Victim', ‘Sapphire' and ‘The L-Shaped Room’.
This event will include 2 talks ('Women in Hollywood' and 'Women in British Cinema') and conclude with a day-course on Saturday 4th March looking at the links between film, censorship and public opinion in the early ‘60s. It will include many relevant clips. We are delighted to welcome as our lead speaker Brian Robinson, who has spent 25 years on the staff of the British Film Institute - most recently as Communications Manager, Archive and Heritage - and since 2000 has programmed the BFI’s London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival.
Click image below for the full season.