Producer Frank Godwin is in his nineties now and not long ago I had a wonderful afternoon talking to him in the office he still keeps in London. Woman in a Dressing Gown may have been made fifty-five years ago but he remembers it vividly. Yvonne Mitchell plays Amy, a hapless housewife who lives in chaos, but doesn’t mind. She’s happy. The last thing she expects is to find her husband isn’t. Jim (Anthony Quayle) has found himself another woman (a young and beautiful Sylvia Syms). Facing losing her husband to a younger woman, Amy tries her hardest to prove she’s worth keeping.
This is a tale of ‘good honest people caught up in tiny tragedies’, as writer Ted Willis describes it. It’s a tale of a woman trapped in a life of boredom and loneliness where some days she can’t be bothered to get dressed. Her ‘brave face’ and brash exterior is a stark contrast to her brooding, unhappy husband who wants to leave her but seems unable to pluck up the courage to tell her. ”You see the same person every day, you don’t see them at all,” he tells his mistress as she hands him an ultimatum to leave his wife or leave her. “She’s not a bad person, she’s just changed,” he says of his wife.
As things go from bad to worse for Amy, Jim has to face the reality of leaving his wife and his son and that reality is not as simple as he or his mistress would like. Directed by J. Lee Thompson, who went on to direct iconic films such as Cape Fear, Ice Cold in Alex and Guns of Navarone. Woman in a Dressing Gown is back in cinemas on July 27th and on DVD for the first time on 13th August 2012.
DVD extras contain interviews with Sylvia Syms and an audio interview with producer Frank Godwin.