The Go-Between (1971)
Lady and the Farmer
With the summer holidays upon them Leo (Dominic Guard) has been invited to stay at the family home of the well to do family of class mate Marcus Maudsley (Richard Gibson) on their large estate in Norfolk. It is there that he meets his friends attractive older sister Marian (Julie Christie - Doctor Zhivago) who is due to become engaged to Viscount, Hugh Trimingham (Edward Fox). But Marian has been in secret carrying on with Ted Burgess (Alan Bates - A Kind of Loving), a neighbouring farmer who she is in love with but of course is entirely unsuitable as he is a working man. Young Leo finds himself part of their secret as he ends up passing notes between them but as the summer goes on he becomes disillusioned with not only helping them but also how he feels about Marian who he realises is using him.
Whilst it seems there are those within the movie industry who hold "The Go-Between" is high regard there are others who find it a monotonous bore and a poor adaptation of a great book. Whilst I don't know whether the book is great or whether the adaptation is poor I do know that I found it a real bore. Now I should explain as ever since I was a child and forced to watch some period dramas about the well to do I have had a real dislike of them and whilst some of the more recent period dramas have impressed there are those older ones which end up stilted and stuffy in their presentation of the well to do. Despite its story of forbidden love "The Go-Between" is stuffy and stilted.
It is not just the stilted and stiff production which does little for me but this storyline of deceit and deception as Marian breaks a social taboo by carrying on with a farmer as it isn't very interesting. Unfortunately neither is Leo's awakening at the fact that his crush on Marian is allowing her to use him and that he feels guilty for betraying the kindly Hugh. Maybe for fans of classic literature this will interest them and draw them in so that when things do finally start to happen they care.
That leads me to my next sticking point as whilst Julie Christie is attractive and Alan Bates has some rugged charm of a man of the land their characters end up classically stiff and that for me makes them hard to connect to. It is the same with Dominic Guard as Leo as he delivers the same type of performance that you will see from any child actor in an old classic movie. About the only interesting thing I can say about the casting is that it is a young Richard Gibson who appears as Marcus who many well know better for being Herr Otto Flick in "'Allo 'Allo".
What this all boils down to is that "The Go-Between" is quite simply not for me as it is an old fashioned period drama which is sadly too stiff and stuffy for my liking. Although I would say that if someone were to remake it now it might work as whilst this adaptation bored me the story has potential to be dramatic, romantic and more importantly entertaining.
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