Neatly attired in a mini-skirt and wearing long boots, Susan George looked radiant as ever. She has just reached the mature age of 19. But she seems admirably suited for her movie part of the rather precocious 16-year-old English schoolgirl Sybil Londonderry, better known to family and friends as Twinky.
“When I first read the script’ she says, ‘ I knew I was Twinky.”
It is a ‘tale of two cities’: London and New York. The young heroine meets a 58-year-old American writer, Scott Wardman, played by Charles Bronson, at a party in London and he quickly becomes the first man in her life. When her parents (Michael Craig and Honor Blackman) get to hear about it, the affair has gone pretty far (Twinky has rashly put down the details in her diary).
They are worried . . . not surprisingly. Despite their opposition, and although Scott himself is at first not too keen on a wedding the apparently ill-matched couple are married in Scotland, with help from grandfather Trevor Howard.
Mainly to get away from her parents* Scott and his child bride move to New York to stay with his folks. Twinky finds New York exciting, but the marriage doesn’t work out too well. . .
” I think the course of events in the film is reasonably true-to-life.” Susan told me, ” given the kind of person Twinky is: scatty, adolescent and insecure.”
Since the film turns on the marriage of a 16-year-old against her parents’ wishes. I asked Susan if she thought girls of that age should have their parents’ consent to be married.
” Why. yes,” she said. “You’re not exactly a woman at 16! You do need guidance. After all, your parents lose control of you when you’re married: you’re made over to your husband. At that age. you’re inclined to think of Mum and Dad as old fogies, but they may well know and understand more about a girl and her boy-friend than the couple do themselves.”
“When I was about 16,” said Susan, “I wanted to leave home—like many girls, I suppose. Fortunately, my parents were sensible about it. They didn’t tell me what to do or what not to do, but gave me some good advice, pointing out things which hadn’t occurred to me. I thought about it and didn’t leave.
“At present, I have no wish to break away. I’m still living with my parents. In fact, I’ve just bought a house at Wraysbury, where we shall be living together. We do have some rows. I think that’s normal in a family, but I’m happy to be with them.”
Susan insists that Twinky is essentially a comedy, of a modern, realistic kind,” It’s not meant to be putting something across or to have a moral, but just to show what is liable to happen, in an hilarious sort of way. At least,” she added, “I hope it will make people laugh.”
She went on: “I think there’s a lot to be said for a couple living together before marriage. It’s the only way to find out what the other person is really like. You may go out with someone and everything seems fine, but if you’re with them all the time they may turn out to be insufferable!”
What did she think of the current emphasis on sex in films and books?
“Well, sex is an important part of life. But I think it’s being overdone. Other things matter, too, and in any case I feel something should be left to the imagination! Nowadays, taking off all one’s gear seems to be the accepted thing in a film and a surefire way for the film to make money. It’s all gone rather far.”