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BFI Film Classics: A Taste of Honey

Melanie Williams

ISBN: 9781839021558 (PB - EN)

Tony Richardson's A Taste of Honey (1961) is a multi-award-winning landmark film in British cinema history and one of the few key films of the British New Wave to have be written by a woman (Shelagh Delaney, adapting her own stage play). Melanie Williams' study explores the many ways in which A Taste of Honey was innovative. It was one of the first films to be made almost entirely on location, its Salford, Manchester and Blackpool exteriors and interiors perfectly curated by production designer Ralph Brinton. It was shot by Walter Lassally in a style liberated from previous orthodoxies about good cinematography and was poetically assembled by visionary editor Anthony Gibbs. The film also launched a wholly new kind of female star in Rita Tushingham, and introducing new faces to British cinema, including Murray Melvin, Paul Danquah, and Robert Stephens. Perhaps most innovatively of all, it boldly but un-sensationally explored class, place, gender, age, ethnicity, sexuality, maternity, and their various intersections at this key moment in post-war British history. Teenage playwright Delaney's strikingly original dramatic vision was sympathetically rendered on screen by Tony Richardson, in perhaps the finest and most fully realised of all his films, and certainly among the finest achievements of the British New Wave he helped to instigate.

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