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The Rough and the Smooth

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Rough and the Smooth
Directed byRobert Siodmak
Written byRobin Maugham (novel)
Audrey Erskine Lindop
Dudley Leslie
Produced byGeorge Minter
Robert Siodmak
StarringNadja Tiller
Tony Britton
William Bendix
Natasha Parry
CinematographyOtto Heller
Edited byGordon Pilkington
Music byDouglas Gamley
George Minter Productions
Distributed byRenown Pictures
Release date
  • October 1959 (1959-10)
Running time
96 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom

The Rough and the Smooth (U.S. title: Portrait of a Sinner) is a 1959 British drama film directed by Robert Siodmak and starring Nadja Tiller, Tony Britton, William Bendix and Natasha Parry.[1] It was written by Robin Maugham, Audrey Erskine Lindop and Dudley Leslie, based on the 1951 novel of the same title by Maugham.

It was distributed in Germany by Gloria Film. In 1961 it was given an American release by American International Pictures.

The screenplay concerns an archaeologist who has an affair with a German woman, putting his engagement to another woman in jeopardy.[2]

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In late 1950s London, an upper-class archaeologist, Mike Thompson, by chance meets a mysterious German woman, Ila Hansen, in a pub. Later they share a taxi and he's dropped off at the house where he lives with his parents. They embark on a torrid love affair during which she constantly lies and deceives him and threatens to ruin his long-term relationship with his fiancée, Margaret Goreham.



The film was shot at the MGM-British Studios and on location around London.[3]



The Monthly Film Bulletin wrote: "For two-thirds of this film there is no sign of any plot nor, when a hint of a story does emerge, does it seem to have been worth waiting for. The script is never even on nodding terms with life, and tries to make up for this deficiency by a candidly explosive vocabulary which gives the production a weirdly old-fashioned air. Of the principals, only Tony Britton attempts to make something of the preposterous dialogue, though Donald Wolfit's newspaper tycoon provides a few precious moments. Apart from some rather arty lighting and photography, Siodmak's flat direction offers little hint of any enthusiasm for the subject. Perhaps he was not at home in the English scene."[4]

Variety wrote: "Alming to offer the kind of torrid, adult love scene that helped make Room At The Top such a success not only at home but in the U.S, The Rough And The Smooth is a story of passion and betrayal. It makes as frequent use as the situations allow of the fireside settee and the bedroom. And when it does employ these settings, it oft-times breeds an atmosphere of sex that's as powerful as any to emanate from British studios. The trouble with this pic is that it presents the love stuff in the course of a story that, one feels, could almost have been drummed up for that purpose alone. With characterization, too, suffering distortion for the sake of dramatic revelations when the climax is looming, the result is often unsatisfactory."[5]

Box office

According to Kinematograph Weekly the film performed "better than average" at the British box office in 1959.[6]


  1. ^ "The Rough and the Smooth". British Film Institute Collections Search. Retrieved 9 May 2024.
  2. ^ "The Rough and the Smooth (1959)". BFI | Film & TV Database. 16 April 2009. Archived from the original on 14 January 2009. Retrieved 4 February 2010.
  3. ^ Encounter with Siodmak Taylor, Russell. Sight and Sound; London Vol. 28, Iss. 3, (Summer 1959): 180.
  4. ^ "The Rough and the Smooth". The Monthly Film Bulletin. 26 (300): 11. 1 January 1959 – via ProQuest.
  5. ^ "The Rough and the Smooth". Variety. 216 (7): 6. 14 October 1959 – via ProQuest.
  6. ^ Billings, Josh (17 December 1959). "Other better-than-average offerings". Kinematograph Weekly. p. 7.

External links

This page was last edited on 9 May 2024, at 13:52
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