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The Knack …and How to Get It

original film poster
Directed by Richard Lester
Produced by Oscar Lewenstein
Written by Charles Wood
Starring Michael Crawford
Rita Tushingham
Music by John Barry
Cinematography David Watkin
Editing by Antony Gibbs
Distributed by United Artists Corporation
Release date(s) United Kingdom 3 June 1965
United States 29 June 1965
Running time 85 min.
Country UK
Language English

The Knack …and How to Get It is a 1965 British comedy film directed by Richard Lester based on the play by Ann Jellicoe.



The film depicts the sexual competition between three roommates — the aggressive, womanizing drummer Tolen (Ray Brooks), the shy, paranoid schoolteacher Colin (Michael Crawford), and the neutral artist Tom (Donal Donnelly) — when a young girl from out of town, Nancy (Rita Tushingham), enters their London world.



Making the film immediately after working with The Beatles on A Hard Day’s Night and just prior to Help, Lester made major changes to the play, adding his own touch through direct address, unexpected oddly-edited sequences, humorous subtitles, and a Greek chorus of disapproving members of "the older generation". The film had Lester's distinctive visual look. Talking about the film in the 1980s, actor Ray Brooks said:

"He’s a very visual man...They reckon that you could take any frame from Help, The Knack, and A Hard Day’s Night and you could put it on the cover of Time/Life. Everything was so beautifully shot."[1]

Lester himself makes a brief cameo as an annoyed bystander. John Barry contributed the jazzy score which features a memorable organ solo by Alan Haven. Charlotte Rampling, Jacqueline Bisset, and Jane Birkin all made their first cinematic appearances in the film as extras.

The film won the Palme d'Or at the 1965 Cannes Film Festival.[2]


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