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The Girl Who Couldn't Quite

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Girl Who Couldn't Quite
Theatrical release poster
Directed byNorman Lee
Screenplay byNorman Lee
Marjorie Deans
Produced byJohn Argyll
StarringBill Owen
Elisabeth Henson
Leo Marks
CinematographyGeoffrey Faithfull
Edited byLister Laurance
Music byRonald Binge
Distributed byMonarch Film Corporation
Running time
84 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom

The Girl Who Couldn't Quite is a 1950 British drama film directed by Norman Lee and starring Bill Owen, Elizabeth Henson and Iris Hoey.[2] It is based on the 1947 stage play of the same name by Leo Marks.

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Ruth is a teenage girl who has never been able to smile. One day she hears a man singing outside the house and she laughs. Her mother invites the man, a tramp called Tim, into the house in the hope that he will help Ruth. Tim becomes friendly with Ruth and encourages her to talk about her childhood. She reveals that she suffered traumatic experiences as child, which led to her inability to smile. The pain of these memories causes her to fall into a coma. When she wakes, she has no memory of Tim, who now seems frightening to her. Tim leaves the house and returns to the road.



The title of the play on which the film is based arises from a conversation Leo Marks had with Noor Inayat Khan GC, who had been a British resistance agent in France in World War 2.[3]

The film was shot at Nettlefold Studios, Walton-on-Thames, Surrey.[2]

Critical reception

Kine Weekly said "Elizabeth Henson acts with her heart and her head and makes a highly successful début as the wistful and neurotic Ruth, and Bill Owen draws a real and likeable character as the philosophical Tim, Iris Hoey. Betty Stockfield and Stuart Lindsell also do well in direct support. Their diction is impeccable. The picture ... has a few loose ends and occasionally lapses to time-honoured farce, but even when it is slightly off the beam its central characters retain their hold on the emotions. ... [a] humorous and human story, clever performance by Elizabeth Henson, refreshing atmosphere, compelling feminine angle and provocative title."[4]

Monthly Film Bulletin said "A tear-shaker of the dampest variety, handled with some tact, and simply played by Bill Owen and Elizabeth Henson."[5]

Leslie Halliwell said: "Sentimental bosh from a mildly popular play of its time."[6]

In British Sound Films: The Studio Years 1928–1959 David Quinlan rated the film as "average", writing: "Blend of laughter and tears isn't as unbearable as it might have been."[7]


  1. ^ "THE STARRY WAY". The Courier-Mail. Brisbane: National Library of Australia. 21 January 1950. p. 2. Retrieved 4 August 2012.
  2. ^ a b "The Girl Who Couldn't Quite". British Film Institute Collections Search. Retrieved 24 November 2023.
  3. ^ Shrabani Basu in Spy Princess ISBN 978-0-930872-79-3 p. 95
  4. ^ "The Girl Who Couldn't Quite". Kine Weekly. 395 (2228): 27. 12 January 1950 – via ProQuest.
  5. ^ "The Girl Who Couldn't Quite". Monthly Film Bulletin. 17 (193): 9. 1950 – via ProQuest.
  6. ^ Halliwell, Leslie (1989). Halliwell's Film Guide (7th ed.). London: Paladin. p. 404. ISBN 0586088946.
  7. ^ Quinlan, David (1984). British Sound Films: The Studio Years 1928–1959. London: B.T. Batsford Ltd. p. 212. ISBN 0-7134-1874-5.

External links

This page was last edited on 26 January 2024, at 14:33
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