The Romantic Englishwoman (1975) from Tuna

This is a  French/English Comedy/Drama with Michael Caine as a British writer named Fielding, and Glenda Jackson as his bored wife. As the film opens, she is off on holiday to Baden-Baden, whilst he stays home with their son and au pair. Caine is offered a job as a script writer, with a concept that at first bores him. It is to be about a woman who goes on holiday by herself to find herself. After he finds out that his wife met a sexy German poet (Helmut Berger) in Baden-Baden, he assumes she was unfaithful, takes the script assignment, and starts patterning the screenplay after his wife's life.

In an effort to learn the truth, or maybe just to add some details to his script, he invites the German to visit, and then moves him in. Caine begins to suspect that Berger is not really a man of letters because the German seems to think that Caine is the same Fielding who wrote Tom Jones! Of course, it turns that out Berger is no poet, but a heroin smuggler in big trouble for losing a shipment. It is not until the end that we learn whether Jackson did have sex with Berger in Baden-Baden, and by then everything is out in the open, and Jackson actually leaves with Berger. Given the German's real profession, that is not a relationship destined to last.

Glenda Jackson is the only member of parliament to have won two Oscars (A Touch of Class, Women in Love), as well as Emmys, Golden Globes and BAFTAs. Talk about an over-achiever! Despite her good performance, and two more from Caine and Berger, I was simply never involved in this story. Caine's character was too self-absorbed, Jackson's was not emotional enough, and Berger's was just a creep. Even the couple's son was a brat, leaving absolutely nobody to root for.


  • Not currently available in Region 1


Glenda Jackson shows the full monty, front and rear.

The Critics Vote ...

  • The New York Times gave it a mixed review tending toward the negative. Variety panned it.


The People Vote ...

The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics, or a C- from our system. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or a D on our scale. (Possibly even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

Our own guideline:

  • A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre.
  • B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. In order to rate at least a B-, a film should be both a critical and commercial success. Exceptions: (1) We will occasionally rate a film B- with good popular acceptance and bad reviews, if we believe the critics have severely underrated a film. (2) We may also assign a B- or better to a well-reviewed film which did not do well at the box office if we feel that the fault lay in the marketing of the film, and that the film might have been a hit if people had known about it. (Like, for example, The Waterdance.)
  • C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by people who enjoy this kind of movie. If this is your kind of movie, a C+ and an A are indistinguishable to you.
  • C means it is competent, but uninspired genre fare. People who like this kind of movie will think it satisfactory. Others probably will not.
  • C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie, but genre addicts find it watchable. Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film, but films with this rating should be approached with caution by mainstream audiences, who may find them incompetent or repulsive or both. If this is NOT your kind of movie, a C- and an E are indistinguishable to you.
  • D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-. Films rated below C- generally have both bad reviews and poor popular acceptance.
  • E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre.
  • F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.


Based on this description, this film is a C-, uninvolving and barely watchable, despite the big stars.

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