For a few years around the beginning of the 1960s, British new wave cinema burned fast and fierce. Shot in black and white, and with an emphasis on portraying real people, it produced some of the most creative and powerful films of the era. The likes of Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, This Sporting Life, A Taste of Honey and Billy Liar became iconic British films. The L-Shaped Room is a rather unusual example of the period, but an impressive one nonetheless.
The mysterious Jane Fosset (Leslie Caron), a French woman in her twenties, arrives at a rundown boarding house in London. Her landlady (Avis Bunnage) is more than a little grotesque, but she soon makes friends with fellow residents Johnny (Brock Peters) and Toby (Tom Bell). Indeed, she becomes very friendly with Toby and the pair start a romance. However, there’s something that Jane cannot tell Toby and it threatens to destroy their relationship.
The L-Shaped Room is an absorbing drama which tackles several social issues of the day. Leslie Caron is phenomenal in the lead role whilst director Bryan Forbes injects a genuine air of working class bonhomie into the mix. It unusual for a woman to be focus for the British new wave. Especially an affluent French one. However, having an ‘outsider’ enter a familiar environment works really well. The L-Shaped Room deserves much more recognition and to be seen by a wider audience.
- New interview with Leslie Caron
- New interview with author Lynne Reid Banks
- The L Shaped Room and the British New Wave featurette
- Stills Gallery
The L-Shaped Room is released on DVD and Blu-ray is released by Vintage Classics on 27 Novem-ber.