Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

The Romantic Englishwoman

(UK, France, 1975)

Michael Caine and Glenda Jackson are a well-off married couple, but she is restless. She takes off to Baden-Baden to “find herself.” While there she has a brief encounter in the lift. The man she speaks to, Helmut Berger, is a thief, a con man, a gigolo, and a drug smuggler. He loses a briefcase full of heroin and must flee. Through a series of unlikely circumstances, he ends up a guest at the couple’s English country house, where Michael is convinced Helmut was his wife’s lover, and Glenda is pissed at Michael for thinking that, and regretful that she wasn’t. There is a lot of verbal fencing in Tom Stoppard’s script. Finally, she takes off to Europe with him, where they are involved briefly in a life of crime and passion. But it can’t last …

It’s a good story, well acted by all. The director, Joseph Losey, has filmed in a set of the house they live in that’s full of mirrors and glass surfaces and carefully calculated angles, artfully arranged so we can see several things at a time. It adds a lot to the intensity and mystery. This was all created by my friend Richard Macdonald, who I worked with for about a month on an early incarnation of my film Millennium. He rented a Cadillac convertible and we would tool all over Vancouver, BC, tossing out ideas and visiting interesting places and restaurants. Then back at the offices he would slash out visual ideas on big sheets of paper, using colored grease pens and an aerosol can. I wish I’d kept some of those drawings, they would have looked nice framed and up on my walls.