Book review: Rita Tushingham in Profile

Rita Tushingham (born 1942) is one of the defining British actresses of the 1960s, with her much lauded appearances on stage and in the films Girl With Green Eyes, The Knack, The Leather Boys, A Taste of Honey, and The Trap. I found it very interesting to review a book on her life and career.

In Gary Wharton‘s book, we follow Tushingham through her career from her start at Liverpool Rep through to being one of the most recognised faces on screen at her peak. Although there are moments a bit of careful proof-reading may have been helpful to catch any repetition or misspellings, Rita Tushingham in Profile is a well-researched and illustrated read.

Wharton adopts a chronological approach from the 1950s to date (anticipating the release of clever and disturbing film Last Night in Soho which featured several luminaries of the ‘swingin’ 60s’ alongside Tushingham), with reference to published and broadcast media to enliven the story.

I find Tushingham’s blend of quiet intensity and careful craft brings something special to anything she appears in, and was particularly interested to read Wharton’s view of her work in the genre of horror and suspense, specifically the film Straight On Till Morning and Armchair Theatre’s episode Red Riding Hood, made for Thames. These are roles which really showcase her sense of ‘otherworldliness’.

This fascinating book is part of a series written by Wharton about British film performers, and each offers a new perspective on those faces not necessarily at the forefront of film studies.

Rita Tushingham In Profile is published by Lushington Publishing and is available through usual sources or from the author.