Contact me at because I'm always up for a natter about anything. Well, mostly.

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Classic Film Review: The Gentle Sex (1943)

The Gentle Sex tells the stories (I use that phrase very loosely) of seven woman who decide to do their bit during WWII. They all end up in the same railway carriage, train together and end the film together. Essentially, this film serves as war propaganda and little else.

Focusing on seven characters meant that the film would appeal to the broadest audience possible, showing the public that these women were just like them. However, it meant that the characters were little more than puppets with only a few flashes of decent characterisation shining through. Some were more striking than others, my own favourite being Joan (Barbara Waring). She's a no-nonsense recruit covering up her shyness by distancing herself from everyone else and generally being a bit of a jobsworth. Some of the other girls actually transfer to get away from her but that doesn't work - she follows them! I was dismayed to find that Waring only made a handful of films because she was certainly the most striking actress of the piece for me. Other bigger names include Lilli Palmer playing a Czech refugee and Joan Greenwood in one of her first screen roles. However, none of the characters have real journeys as such - one character participates in a doomed love affair but that's pretty much it.

The film doesn't pretend to be anything it isn't but it fails to live up to the potential of the premise by looking at too many women. Equally, very little actually happens in the film. It's disjointed, barely held together by seeing the familiar faces, and, while some of the explosions are the end are impressive, there's not much to recommend this one. However, if you watch it as a slice-of-life documentary kind of thing instead of a piece of entertainment, you might be more satisfied.

No comments: