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The Knack... And How To Get It
Retrospective: Swinging 60s

Winner of the Palme d’Or at the 1965 Cannes Film Festival, director Richard Lester followed up his ground-breaking A Hard Day’s Night (1964) – which helped put the swing in the step of 60s British cinema – with this similarly acrobatic, tongue-in-cheek and delightfully frivolous take on swinging London and the sexual revolution.

The Knack …and How to Get It is an adaptation of a 1962 farce by Ann Jellicoe; a parody – startlingly diagnostic for so early in the decade – of male arrogance in attitudes to women in this sex-expectant era. Cool and sophisticated Tolen (Ray Brooks, Carry on Abroad 1972) has a monopoly on womanising with a long line of conquests to prove it while the naïve and gawky young Colin (Michael Crawford, Hello, Dolly 1969) desperately wants a piece of it.

But when Colin falls for spirited funny-face (the shining star of the film Rita Tushingham, A Taste of Honey 1961), whom he literally picks up while pushing his new brass bed through the streets of London, it's not long before the self-assured Tolen moves in for the kill. Is all fair in love and war, or can Colin get the knack and beat Tolen at his own game?

Palme d’Or – Best Picture, Cannes Film Festival 1965 • Grand Prix de l’UCC, Belgian Film Critics Association 1966
Best English-Language Foreign Film, Best Actress – Comedy or Musical, Golden Globes 1966
The four performances are exceptionally good.
Richard Lester
Rita Tushingham, Michael Crawford, Ray Brooks, Donal Donnelly
1965 | 84 min | Comedy