Released 31 October 1963
BILLA and GINNIE are two single young women, sharing a London flat and working as night club hostesses in a Soho gentleman’s club.
The emotionally fragile Ginnie has the chance to leave this life behind, as BOB SHELBOURNE, rich and cossetted son of a business magnate, offers to leave his wife and marry her, while BILLA has a different man in her life – her school teacher father, up to visit London for the day and determined to take his daughter home, away from a life he views as immoral.
To complicate matters, Billa is pregnant and wonders how she could possibly cope without her friend.
The photograph of Ginnie which Billa looks at longingly at the start of the movie is actually a publicity still from the comedy movie THE MOUSE ON THE MOON, in which June Ritchie had starred earlier in the year.
Although it was toned down for fear of the censors, the original intention was for the lesbian subtext between Ginnie and Billa to be strengthened and made more overt at the end of the film.
Sylvia Syms said of the characters’ relationship:
‘[a]s far as I was concerned my character was in love with June Ritchie [. . .] but in those days one could only suggest lesbianism.’
(quoted in Stephen Bourne, Brief Encounters: Lesbians and Gays in British Cinema, 1930-1971)
The movie was novelised by John Burke for Pan Books, with Ritchie and Sim on the front cover, and Ritchie and Judd on the rear..
J-June doesn’t dig this kind of l-living…
The official tie-in product for the movie was Harp Lager, a recently launched UK version of the then fashionable European lagers.