The Knack ... And How to Get It

Overview

Colin (Michael Crawford, who much later won a Tony Award for his role in Broadway's Phantom of the Opera) is an uptight schoolteacher whose housemate, Tolen (Ray Brooks) is a consummate womanizer. Colin imagines a long line of young women in tight white sweaters on his stairwell, waiting to get into Tolen's room. Jealous of Tolen's incredible success with the ladies, Colin asks Tolen for advice on how to get a girl. When Tolen's advice doesn't seem very practical, Colin decides that his first order of business is...
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Overview

Colin (Michael Crawford, who much later won a Tony Award for his role in Broadway's Phantom of the Opera) is an uptight schoolteacher whose housemate, Tolen (Ray Brooks) is a consummate womanizer. Colin imagines a long line of young women in tight white sweaters on his stairwell, waiting to get into Tolen's room. Jealous of Tolen's incredible success with the ladies, Colin asks Tolen for advice on how to get a girl. When Tolen's advice doesn't seem very practical, Colin decides that his first order of business is to get a bigger bed. Colin is also trying to find a third roommate to take a spare room. Tom (Donal Donnelly), who seems compelled to paint everything in sight, happens by the house, and inserts himself in the spare room without so much as saying "hello." Nancy (Rita Tushingham of A Taste of Honey) is new in town, and wanders the streets of London in a fruitless search for the YWCA. She runs into Colin and Tom at the dump, where they are procuring a gigantic bed. They offer her a ride, and proceed to race through London on the bed. Colin seems too shy to speak much to Nancy, despite Tom's encouragement. Eventually, the trio reach Colin's house, where Tolen works his gruff magic on Nancy, and havoc ensues. Capturing late 1960s London in black-and-white, Richard Lester's The Knack. . .and How to Get It was released between the director's two successes with the Beatles, A Hard Day's Night and Help. The script, by Charles Wood (An Awfully Big Adventure) is based on a play by Ann Jellicoe. Future stars Jacqueline Bisset, Charlotte Rampling, and Jane Birkin appear briefly amid all the attractive young women in the film.
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Josh Ralske
Richard Lester's The Knack. . .and How to Get It is thought by many to be a classic black-and-white comedy of sexual mores in swinging 60s London, but the film's value as more than a relic of its time is lessened by its frequently stagy dialogue and lighthearted view of sexual assault. Playfully ripping off everyone from Buster Keaton to Jean-Luc Godard, Lester uses the same offhand, non sequitur humor, jump cutting, and sight gags that made his Beatles film, A Hard Day's Night, such a joy. But while they all have their moments, Michael Crawford, Rita Tushingham, Ray Brooks, and Donal Donnelly are not the Beatles, and only Donnelly, given many of the script's funniest lines, approaches their realm of impudent charm. Lester's use of the voices of older Londoners as a kind of "square" Greek chorus is a hackneyed and sometimes irritating device. There are some funny moments in the film, but a lot of the humor is rooted in obvious Benny Hill-style double entendres (such as Colin's (Crawford) repeated whining about the size of his "bed"). The last third of the film, through which Tushingham runs through London, repeatedly (and wrongfully) crying "rape" was obviously meant to be irreverent, shocking, and funny. Nowadays, it's just discomfiting. The Knack is very watchable as a product of its times, but it doesn't deserve its reputation as a classic of the British cinema.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 9/1/1998
  • UPC: 027616313034
  • Original Release: 1965
  • Rating:

  • Source: Mgm (Warner)
  • Format: VHS

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Rita Tushingham Nancy Jones
Ray Brooks Tolen
Michael Crawford Colin
Donal Donnelly Tom
John Bluthal Father
Wensley Pithey Teacher
Lucy Bartlett Water Skier
Timothy Bateson Junkman
Jacqueline Bisset Extra
George Chisholm Porter
Peter Copley Picture Owner
John Porter Davison Guardsman
William Dexter Dress Shop Owner
Charles Dyer Man in Photo Booth
Kenneth Farrington
Vincent Harding
Rose Hillier Unsuitable Customer
Julian Holloway
Walter Horsbrugh Old Man
Bruce Lacey Surveyor's Assistant
Helen Lennox Woman in Photo Booth
Dandy Nichols Landlady
Katherine Page Woman in House
Charlotte Rampling Water Skier
Frank Sieman Surveyor
Marlo Thomas Female Teacher
Wanda Ventham Gym Mistress
Charels Wood Soldier
Technical Credits
Richard Lester Director
John Barry Score Composer
Michael Deeley Producer
Antony Gibbs Editor
Assheton Gorton Production Designer, Set Decoration/Design
Alan Haven Songwriter
Oscar Lewenstein Producer
Jocelyn Rickards Costumes/Costume Designer
David Watkin Cinematographer
Charels Wood Screenwriter
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