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Film / Georgy Girl

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Georgy Girl is a 1966 British romantic dramedy film directed by Silvio Narizzano and starring Lynn Redgrave in the title role.

Georgiana "Georgy" Parkin (Redgrave) is a vivacious and outgoing Ugly Duckling who lives in London with her beautiful yet bitchy violinist friend, Meredith (Charlotte Rampling), and often holds the children's dance and music classes she teaches at the loft of her parents' wealthy employer, James Leamington (James Mason), who served as a father figure to Georgy as she was growing up but now lusts after her while trapped in a loveless and childless marriage with an ailing wife. Leamington makes a proposition to Georgy – a legal contract in which she'll be his mistress and he'll provide her with all the money and luxuries she wants – which she isn't too sure of accepting. Then Meredith finds herself pregnant with her boyfriend Jos's (Alan Bates) baby, and Georgy takes full advantage of the contract and throws herself into Motherhood, while Jos falls for her.

Based on a novel by Margaret Forster, this film was nominated at the 39th Academy Awards for Best Actress (Redgrave), Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Mason), Best Black-and-White Cinematography, and Best Original Song. It was also nominated for six Golden Globes (with Redgrave winning for Best Actress – Comedy or Musical) and four BAFTAs.

Georgy Girl includes examples of:

  • '60s Hair: The dreaded and less dreaded Beehive Hairdo that Georgy sports, Meredith wears her hair long in a Jean Shrimpton-esque flip, Jos wears a haircut that would make him fit in with The Rolling Stones, and Georgy later wears her hair loose in a set bouffant.
  • Adaptational Attractiveness: James Leamington is described as a fat man in the novel, whereas in the film he's portrayed by the much more svelte James Mason.
  • Alpha Bitch: Played with in that there isn't a Girl Posse, but Meredith often acts like Georgy is her servant.
  • Awful Wedded Life: A few examples.
    • Mr. and Mrs. Leamington, due to her illness and the fact he doesn't really love her.
    • Georgy's parents, Mr. and Mrs. Parkin, in the novel; it's implied she serves as The Beard and Extreme Doormat in the marriage.
    • Jos and Meredith: Swinging Singles while they were dating, but then Jos grows disenchanted with Meredith's selfishness and put-downs and she grows disenchanted with both marriage and motherhood. They ultimately split up, Meredith leaving with a wealthy man and Jos setting up house with Georgy and baby Sara. That is, until he too grows tired of his responsibilities – and with Georgy being more interested in Sara than him – and abandons them.
    • As it looks, Georgy and James will have a Sexless Marriage since Georgy only married him for the sake of keeping Sara.
  • Beautiful All Along: Georgy at the end.
  • Beehive Hairdo: Georgy gets two. A ridiculous one that she later washes off in disgust and a more matronly one when Meredith is pregnant.
  • Berserk Button: Meredith receives some really verbal ones.
    • Jos loses it when Meredith insults Georgy's looks while they're gathering important information for the pregnancy.
    • Georgy really gives it to Meredith when the latter is not ecstatic about having an "ugly" baby and calls her a horrible mother.
  • Birth-Death Juxtaposition: The book reports that Sara, Meredith and Jos's baby, was born around the time Mrs. Leamington died.
  • Bittersweet Ending: James gets the girl, but only because she wants a to raise a child that isn't her own and Georgy does end up with a millionaire and her baby, but only in for the security.
  • Bridal Carry: Jos does this two times. Once with Meredith, played straight; the other with Georgy, where he's slightly struggling with her build.
  • Chaste Hero: Georgy (though not by her choice).
  • Deadpan Snarker: Meredith gets into this role.
    • Georgy behaves this way with her father.
  • Expository Theme Tune: The lyrics of the title song actually provide some expository information about Georgy, including that she's never had a boyfriend.
  • Fat Best Friend: Meredith regards Georgy as this, subverted in that Georgy is more big rather than obese and is the protagonist. The book has Peg the Neighbor as this role in regards to Georgy. This was dropped in the film where her role was much more minor and she was played by a very petite actress.
  • Fiery Redhead: Played with. Georgy (as played by the redhaired Lynn Redgrave in B&W) is easygoing and cheerful, putting up with Meredith's bitchiness, but she doesn't suffer any fools and she really tells off Meredith for finding her child too unattractive and for wanting to abandon the kid.
  • Friend to All Children: Georgy really likes kids. She teaches a class for young school age children and craves being a mother more than a boyfriend.
  • Genki Girl: Jos is a rare male example, and Georgy is at turns charmed and irritated by it (mostly the latter by the end of the film).
  • Gonky Femme: Georgy, she's regarded as very large and frumpy, but she is soft-hearted and motherly along with being good in the kitchen.
  • Good Girls Avoid Abortion: Averted. The bitchy and self-centered Meredith had a few abortions in the past and this time she will go through the pregnancy, only for everyone to see she isn't mother material.
  • Happily Adopted: Baby Sara in the end after Georgy adopts her and then marries Mr. Leamington.
  • I Am Not Pretty: Georgy bears the angst of this trope but doesn't really express it until after Meredith likens her to "the back end of a bus".
    Georgy: She's right, Jos. I am like the back of a bus! My face is too fat and my hair's like grass, I'm just a mess!
    Jos: Shut up, you're not! Look, she's just jealous of you!
    Georgy: Jealous?! Look at the size of me!
  • It's All About Me: The motto for Meredith and Jos's life; both wind up abandoning their daughter because parental responsibilities cramp their lifestyle.
  • May–December Romance: The twenty-two year old Georgy soon ends up with her parents' older employer.
  • No Guy Wants an Amazon: Georgy is a big girl (as played by the full-figured and very tall Lynn Redgrave) and not very girlish, and she has a hard time finding a man to date her.
    Mr. Parkin: She's the size of a lorry driver.
  • Parents as People: Meredith and Jos are fun and swinging people, but good parents they are not.
  • Parental Substitute: Georgy, for Meredith's and Jos's baby Sara, later Sara's parents abandon her with Georgy and the latter marries the widowed James in order for the state to let her keep the baby.
  • Really Gets Around: Meredith has quite a history.
  • Rewritten Pop Version: "Georgy Girl" by The Seekers. One version is brighter and more optimistic while the other (as heard in the movie) is a bit darker and describes how she needs a makeover and that she ends up in a marriage of money rather than love.
  • Sexless Marriage: As explained above in Awful Wedded Life.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: It's really notable how Georgy's appearance improves when she starts wearing clothes that fit and doesn't do her hair up in a haphazard ponytail.
  • Thematic Theme Tune / Title Theme Tune: Written by Tom Springfield (music) and Jim Dale (lyrics) and performed by the Australian folk group The Seekers, it became a huge hit on both sides of the Atlantic as well as Down Under.
  • Tomboyish Name: Georgy's real name is Georgiana, course averted since she is referred to as "Georgy Girl".
  • Tomboyish Ponytail: Act I of the film has Georgy put up her hair in a messy ponytail, until she moves on to a beehive and a softer bouffant.
  • Ugly Hero, Good-Looking Villain: Georgy and the slimmer and beautiful Meredith are friends, yet fall into this trope a bit despite the film not having a black and white morality.
  • Unnecessary Makeover: In-universe, Georgy stops at a hair salon and one of the hairdressers bides her to come in. She comes in with a messy ponytail and comes out with a Beehive Hairdo that likely is ridiculous even by '60s standards. She thankfully washes off in a public sink, content with her messy and frumpy yet normal hair.