After 20 years of marriage and running around after her husband Jim (Anthony Quayle) and son Brian (Andrew Ray), warm-hearted but feckless and domestically untidy Amy Preston (Yvonne Mitchell) finds she cannot compete with an attractive younger woman – prim and tidy secretary Georgie (Sylvia Syms) – for the affections of her husband.
Amy is stunned when Jim asks for a divorce and she makes a pathetic attempt to win him back with a new hairstyle, her best dress and a bottle of whisky which she buys for a “special evening” at home.
She is caught in a rainstorm, though, which washes out her hairstyle. Her new dress rips as she is putting it on, and she ends up getting drunk.
This painfully honest drama, based on a television play by Ted Willis, was light years ahead of its time in its treatment of women and their place in marriage.
Yvonne Mitchell’s portrayal of clinical depression is stunning in its depth and understanding, and director J Lee Thompson pulls no punches in his exploration of a marriage gone sour following the intrusion of a younger woman.
In many ways, this movie heralded a new dawn in gritty British film-making that led to the “kitchen sink” social dramas of the 1960s.
J. Lee Thompson