KILLING OF SISTER GEORGE, THE (1969)
Vintage original 36 x 14″ (92 x 36 cm.) insert poster, USA. Unfolded, FINE. Beryl Reid, Susannah York, Coral Browne, dir: Robert Aldrich; Cinerama.
White, Uninvited, pp. 136 ff: “The main character…is a role-playing lesbian in more than one sense…As the country nurse ‘Sister George’ on a TV soap opera, she is a character actress beloved by the public…One of the first Hollywood films to represent lesbianism openly…The soap opera role encodes in the film a very particular awareness of the operation of stereotyping in lesbian representation — including in identity as representation.”
This was the first film to have scenes shot in an actual lesbian bar (Gateways, in London). The film opened to scathing reviews, all of them with a clear homophobic bias. Village Voice film critic Andrew Sarris (who was a champion of director Aldrich’s work) made the ambivalent comment that the film “contains the most erotic sequence ever seen in an otherwise artistically respectable, responsible production. The baring of Susannah York’s breast [in a seduction sequence which critics and censors, at the time, deemed offensive] is less a demystification of lesbian tactics than a celebration of all sexual mysteries.” Other critics lambasted the film, which only gradually became recognized for its place in lesbian film history.
Alderson, p. 63. Parish 123. Porter and Prince, p. 126.