Archive for April 2nd, 2013

by Allan Fish

(UK 1971 91m) not on DVD

I am not the vagrant

p  Irene Shubik  d  Ted Kotcheff  w  Jeremy Sandford  ph  Peter Bartlett  ed  Peter Coulson  art  Evan Hercules

Patricia Hayes (Edna), Barbara Jefford (Josie Quinn), Cheryl Hall (Vangi), Geraldine Sherman (Trudi), Kate Williams (Teresa), Peggy Aitchison (Lil), Freda Dowie (Mother Superior), June Brown (Clara), Jenny Logan (Doris),

How is it, in this day and age, that one of the great TV plays of all time is so impossible to see?  The BFI have released DVDs of so many, from the early Ken Russell composer pieces and Ken Loach’s Cathy Come Home to the Ghost Story at Christmas series.  True, all are now deleted, but at least they were made available.  Edna, though, lies languishing in the vaults; forgotten, gathering dust.  There’s a tragic irony in that considering the subject.

Edna is a woman of around sixty.  We first see her walking along a country street trying to get a bed for the night in a country hostel.  She does so, and is washed and has her clothes fumigated, but is then sent on her way in the morning.  Such is her existence, flitting from one night rooms to sleeping in ditches and drinking water out of rivers out of her hat.  She then gets into trouble with the police for creating a disturbance and is brought up before the local magistrate.  She’s persuaded by counsel to take time in a psychiatric hospital rather than get thrown on the merciless court, but she eventually even outstays her welcome there.  Once well, she’s thrown out, and eventually gets a temporary reprieve when thrown into prison.  She likes it there, but of course her sentence is not a long one and she’s soon on her way even from there, back on the streets, shouting and wailing at the wind.  Finally she comes across a hostel where she’s taken in by an organisation known simply as Jesus Saves, looking after fallen women of all kinds; drunks, drug addicts, prostitutes, the elderly and infirm.  Edna’s never been so happy, but needless to say, it doesn’t last for long.  The hostel is ordered to close after complaints from neighbours and Edna’s on her way again, this time we know not where.  (more…)

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