The Wild and the Willing
The Wild and the Willing is a 1962 British romantic drama film directed by Ralph Thomas and starring Virginia Maskell, Paul Rogers and Samantha Eggar. It is the film debut of Ian McShane and John Hurt. It depicts a group of students at university.
|The Wild and the Willing|
|Directed by||Ralph Thomas|
|Produced by||Betty E. Box |
Earl St. John
|Written by||Nicholas Phipps|
|Based on||play "The Tinker" by Laurence Doble and Robert Sloman|
|Music by||Norrie Paramor|
|Edited by||Alfred Roome|
Betty E. Box-Ralph Thomas Productions
|Distributed by||J. Arthur Rank Film Distributors (UK)|
|16 October 1962 (London) (UK)|
It was filmed on location in Lincoln, with Lincoln Castle doubling as the university.
A group of young men at university go through the students' life – dancing, drinking, meeting girls. Harry (Ian McShane) is a rather rebellious young man, going out with Josie (Samantha Eggar). His roommate is Phil (John Hurt), a quiet outsider. Harry feels very protective of Phil for some reason. Phil loves Sarah (Katherine Woodville), who jilted him for another more suitable boyfriend.
As the plot develops, Harry gets involved with Professor Chown's (Paul Rogers) unhappy wife, Virginia (Virginia Maskell). The professor acts very aloof towards her and doesn't want to divorce her because he is expecting to be knighted. Harry wants Virginia to come away with him, but she is too worried about her future and turns him down. Out of frustration Harry wants to pull a Rag Week stunt, climb the campus tower at night and raise a flag atop of it. He needs help to pull this off but all the other young men opt out for various reasons. Phil offers to join Harry, as he feels that Harry has done a lot to involve him into campus life, rather than living on the fringes. At first, Harry, worried about the consequences as Phil is not a good climber, refuses to take Phil along with him, but eventually, against his better judgment, he is persuaded to do so.
Gilby (Jeremy Brett), a smart striver is jealous of Harry, as he used to see Virginia before she rejected him. He notices the activities around the tower and reports Harry and Phil to the university authorities. The teachers are more annoyed than worried and call the fire brigade. The spectacle draws a crowd. Although Phil is a bad climber and slips several times, the two young men manage to reach the top and hoist their flag. But on the way down Phil loses his footing and, although Harry tries desperately to hold on to him, Phil slips from his grasp and falls to his death.
For being directly responsible for his friend's death, Harry is 'sent down' and expelled from the university. He makes one more visit to see Professor Chown and Virginia where the Professor admits that Harry's paper was brilliant and that with his stunt, he has forfeited a scholarship and an academic career. Josie meets Harry at the bus station and realises that she doesn't mean much to him. Yet she asks him to take her along, but he refuses, as he doesn't want to go on hurting people. The film ends with Reggie (John Sekka), an African friend, singing a ballad of Harry and Josie's life.
- Virginia Maskell as Virginia Chown
- Paul Rogers as Professor George Chown
- Ian McShane as Harry Brown
- Samantha Eggar as Josie Stevens
- Catherine Woodville as Sarah
- David Sumner as John
- John Hurt as Phil Corbett
- John Standing as Arthur
- Johnny Briggs as Dai
- Johnny Sekka as Reggie
- Jeremy Brett as Andrew Gilby
- Charles Kay as Edgar Tibbs
- John Barrie as Mr Corbett
- Megs Jenkins as Mrs Corbett
- Victor Brooks as Fire Chief
- Ernest Clark as Vice-Chancellor
- Denise Coffey as Jane
- George A. Cooper as First Customer
- Richard Leech as Police Inspector
- Harry Locke as Second Customer
- Marianne Stone as Clara
- Richard Warner as Coroner
- John Welsh as Publican
- Jeremy Young as Policeman
It was based on a play, "The Tinker".
It was the first feature film for Samantha Eggar, John Hurt and Ian McShane. Betty Box says Hurt was the first cast; they used him to audition other actors. McShane was only months from graduating from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art when asked to audition. "It's very appealing, movie money, so I did it and that was that", said McShane later.
Betty Box said the film "didn't break records or win awards but it did reasonably good business and put the youngsters on the first rung of the ladder to stardom."
In the Radio Times, David McGillivray wrote, "an unsuccessful play, The Tinker – written when Angry Young Men were in vogue – is the source of this exposé of British student life. Once shocking, it has aged as badly as others of its ilk, but now has considerable curiosity value, not least because of early appearances by Ian McShane, Samantha Eggar, John Hurt and others. McShane shines as the scholarship boy who vents his wrath on privileged society".
BFI Screenonline referred to the film as "Ralph Thomas's tepid student drama"; but Sky Movies concluded the film "still manages to generate moments of high excitement – none more so than a climatic climb up the sheer side of a crumbling steeple – a few minutes that are guaranteed to have you on the edge of your chair."
The film was released in the United States in 1964 as Young and Willing. The|work=New York Times called the film "sophomoric".
Ian McShane's performance has been described as "the archetypal angry young man."
- "Young and Willing (1962)". IMDb. 30 August 1963.
- "The Wild and the Willing". BFI. Archived from the original on 12 July 2012.
- Gilbey, Ryan (16 March 2013). "Ian McShane: rogue trader". The Guardian. Retrieved 18 March 2013.
- Weatherby, W J. (21 February 1986). "Irony in the soul". The Guardian. p. 12.
- JOAN BARTHEL (30 May 1965). "Samantha Was Slightly Sullen That Day". New York Times. p. X7.
- "Don't lets be beastly about Hollywood". The Guardian. 2 February 1985. p. 13.
- Champlin, Charles (1 December 1978). "CRITIC AT LARGE: Running Away With 'Express' Incomplete Source". Los Angeles Times. p. oc_c1.
- Betty Box, Lifting the Lid, 2000 p 225-226
- Healy, Patrick (9 December 2007). "A Knack for Being the Bad Boy". New York Times. p. A1.
- Box p 226
- "The Wild and the Willing". RadioTimes.
- "BFI Screenonline: Hurt, John (1940-) Biography".
- http://skymovies.sky.com/the-wild-and-the-willing/review%7Ctitle=The Wild And The Willing|publisher
- BOSLEY CROWTHER (27 February 1964). "Screen: At College Level: ' Young and Willing' in Fine Arts Premiere". New York Times. p. 28.
- Brady, Tara (14 February 2014). "Working out nicely: An actor since the early 1960s, Ian McShane has been a familiar presence on our screens big and small (Lovejoy anyone?) for decades -- and now he's a Hollywood star. Not a bad for the unassuming son of a footballer. The Cuban Fury star talks". The Irish Times. p. B6.