Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.
USA/West Germany/United Kingdom, 1979. CIP Filmproduktion GmbH. Story by Colin Welland, Screenplay by Colin Welland, Walter Bernstein. Cinematography by Dick Bush. Produced by Joseph Janni, Lester Persky. Music by Richard Rodney Bennett. Production Design by Brian Morris. Costume Design by Shirley Russell. Film Editing by Jim Clark. Golden Globe Awards 1979. National Board of Review Awards 1979.
‘The Yanks are overpaid, oversexed and over here!’ were just some of the slogans uttered by British citizens during World War II, when American soldiers were posted in England before shipping out to fight Hitler. Richard Gere, at his dewiest, plays a draftee who is barracked in a peaceful English hamlet and immediately becomes smitten with the local post-office clerk (Lisa Eichhorn in a lovely performance). She, in turn, resists him because of a previous commitment to a now-fighting British soldier, but eventually succumbs to her passionate feelings for Gere despite the disapproval of her hard-edged mother (Rachel Roberts). Meanwhile, Vanessa Redgrave plays a married aristocrat whose friendly feelings for a high-ranking military officer (William Devane), himself with a wife back home, take a deeper turn the more time they spend together, adding personal guilt to their already complicated feelings about the war. The film tries to go for a double narrative with the two couples and their contrasting affairs, one torrid and the other subdued, but the half-hearted attempt to give them shared screen time ends up making Gere and Eichhorn the obvious focus, while Redgrave and Devane feel like they’re interrupting from another movie. Still, director John Schlesinger does a lovely job of recreating the period, or at least of creating the romanticized image of the period that we know from old movies, and the performances are all superb.