Leave All Fair

Leave All Fair - 1985

Pacific Films - 88 min.

Cast: John Gielgud, Jane Birkin, Feodor Atkine, Simon Ward.
Crew: Screenplay: Stanley Harper, Maurice Pons, Jean Betts, John Reid; Director of Photography: Bernard Lutic; Editor: Ian John; Music Director: Stephen McCurdy; Producers: John O'Shea, Dominique Antoine, Craig Walters; Director: John Reid.

John Middleton Murry visits France to finalize the publication of a collection of his late wife, Katherine Mansfield's, letters and journals. The publisher's girlfriend Marie (who physically resembles Mansfield) and Murry become friends. Marie gradually learns that Murry not only profited greatly from his publication of Mansfield's writings, but that as her editor he sacrificed the real Mansfield to his own romantic dream, and even that he published her letters and journals against her expressed wishes. At times a beautifully shot production, but indoor and night scenes are often far too dark. Also it sometimes is "contemplative", without dialogue and rather static, but worth viewing.

Censor Rating: PG -- Review Rating: B-

Leave All Fair
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"A contemporary feminist response to Mansfield and the spirit of this Newish World merge in the script, accentuating the corruption of the old, male and literary world in which the story is set. John Reid's direction dramatises the issues in the material with flair and authority and serves his exceptional actors well in this haunting and thoughtful film" - (Bill Gosden, Wellington Film Festival programme [1985 ?])

Murry emerges as an egocentric swine in John Gielgud's performance and the tale is angled to canonize Katherine Mansfield as a proto-feminist martyr. Maddening in outlook, its pretensions epitomized by references to 'The Winter's Tale' and 'La Boheme'. Yet seductively literate and well acted. (Nicholas Reid - 'A Decade of New Zealand Film').

Leave All Fair, by reducing Murry to a sexist exploiter for financial gain, simplifies the KM/Murry relationship into a cliche of our time ... Fair to Middleton Murry? No. Fair to Katherine Mansfield? No. - Tom McWilliams, Listener - Feb. 1986.


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1985 - Taormina Film Festival: Special Jury Citation Commendation to John Gielgud.
1985 - Orleans Films festival: Best Actress to Jane Birkin.
1986 - Karlovy Vary Film Festival, Czechoslovakia: Cidalic Prize.

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