Sister George is an adorable healthcare provider who rides a motor scooter and helps the community in BBC’s enduring soap opera, Applehurst. Although her character is bold, kind-hearted and reliable, the actress playing Sister George is diametrically opposed to her on-screen persona. Her real name is June Buckridge (Beryl Reid) and she is a middle-aged leading lady who is afraid her acting career has finally come to an end. Rumor has it that a future script depicts the beloved character of Applehurst dying and leaving the show permanently.
June is so identified with her carefully-built character that she no longer knows who she is as a person. Her anguish and uncertainty regarding her life’s work begin to pour out into her relationship as well. The actress shares a home with her lesbian lover, Alice “Childie” McNaught (Susannah York), a younger and much more childlike woman who writes poetry and plays with dolls. The two have a tumultuous love affair built upon Childie’s submissiveness. However, June becomes suspicious that her partner may be seeing other people on the side. As she is not only overprotective of her job, but also of Childie, the actress wants to take her life back into her own hands before everything begins to crumble around her. But being in control anywhere outside of the bedroom turns out to be more challenging than she thought.
“Sister George remains an important work in Aldrich’s canon and a major contribution to early queer cinema, though some commentators have seen it as homophobic in portraying George as a monstrous version of a lesbian and Childie as a goofy, unevolved babydyke.”
— Bright Lights Film Journal
“Aldrich has been accused of coarsening and commercialising a subtle play. But, nevertheless, it is a spirited, highly entertaining, even sometimes enlightening, possibly even liberating movie, pulling lesbians out of the closet.”
— Derek Winnert
“Released in 1968, Aldrich’s film is one of several the director made about the vagaries of stardom—a mini-oeuvre that also includes The Big Knife, What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?, and The Legend of Lylah Clare. While Baby Jane has long been appropriated by gay men, its most famous line (“But you are, Blanche! You are in that chair!”) repeated in bars and drag shows for decades, Sister George remains a lesbian cult classic that has the distinction of being the first “serious” film to receive an X rating.”
— Film Comment
Did You Know?
Robert Aldrich has stated that The Killing Of Sister George is one of his proudest achievements, as well as his personal favorite amongst his work. The director futilely tried to dispute the X rating received by the motion picture. Unfortunately, several court sessions later, after Aldrich spent almost $80,000, the movie was only downgraded to an R rating. Review our Gay Themed Films Here