The L Shaped Room (film and novel)

Last night I watch the film called “The L Shaped Room”, directed by Bryan Forbes from 1960. I had read the novel a while ago, the same title as the film written by Lynne Reid Banks, and wanted to compare the two. The book I had picked up in a market from Eccles many years ago I had not heard of it before but reading the back of the cover I was intrigued.

The film differed from the book, often the film is poorer than the book but I think the film brought to life certain aspects that the book hinted at, and the film became a separate creation. The leading heroine is French in the film and English in the novel, why? Well, I guess it brought up certain aspects of “foreign-ness” the war was mentioned, adding something to past and the now (1960). The negro character had a strange role in the film he is hinted as being gay, but I would say he is more A-sexual, as though a negro cannot be allowed to feel any sex or to listen to it, or have a relationship except for his gift with music.

The men in the film are either drunks, sexual predators, or in the main characters weak and unsuccessful. The writer cannot sell his novels, he backs away from responsibilities, he wants sex but not commitment, although he tries he cannot accept the baby, which is not his… at least this is honesty. In the book the heroine is English, pregnant, does not enjoy sex, independent minded… all complex characters. All living in a house which is odd… the L shaped room indicates all is not “straight” sexuality, jobs, relationships, etc.

There are 2 other books from this novel: “The Backward Shadow”, and “Two is Lonely” I must track them down.




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