Bitter honey

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German title Bitter honey
Original title A taste of honey
Country of production United Kingdom
original language English
Publishing year 1961
length 100 minutes
Director Tony Richardson
script Shelagh Delaney and Tony Richardson
production Tony Richardson
music John Addison (original music)
camera Desmond Davis
cut Antony Gibbs

A Taste of Honey is a British film drama by Tony Richardson from the year 1961 . The film is based on the play of the same name (original title: A Taste of Honey ) by Shelagh Delaney , who also worked on the script.


The film is set in the British city of Salford around 1950 . Jo, a seventeen-year-old girl from the working-class neighborhood, lives with her mother Helen in an unstable family situation.

After Helen begins a relationship with Peter, a significantly younger and wealthy man, she leaves Jo. At the same time, Jo falls in love with Jimmy, a dark-skinned sailor, and becomes pregnant by him. When Jimmy drives out to sea again and she is repeatedly on her own, she meets the homosexual fashion student Geoffrey. Geoffrey moves in with Jo and at the same time takes on the role of father for her baby. When Helen, who has since broken up with her lover, returns unexpectedly, Geoffrey realizes bitterly that there is no longer any room for him and leaves Jo.


Bitter honey is considered one of the key films of the British New Wave and sticks closely to the literary original from 1958 .


The film won several international awards in the years that followed. In 1962, he won four British Film Academy Awards for Best British Screenplay and Best British Film, Best Female Leading Role and Best New Actress. At the Cannes Film Festival in 1962, Tushingham and Melvin were honored as best actors. In 1963, Tushingham received a Golden Globe Award for best young actress. The British Film Institute chose Taste of Honey in 1999 at number 56 of the best British films of the 20th century .


The instrumental piece A Taste of Honey , written by Bobby Scott and Ric Marlow for the Broadway production of the drama in 1960, was not used in the film version. It was later covered by Herb Alpert , the Beatles and Esther Ofarim, among others .

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