On the day Nancy gets off the London train, cases in hand and looking for the YWCA, Colin has had enough of missing out on the sexual revolution. He begs his smooth and misogynistic pal Tolen to teach him ‘the knack’ – how to score with women.
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Lester's post-Truffaut take on the battle of the sexes builds on the foundation of Jules and Jim, though surpasses that particular film on every level, right down to its casual misogyny. Its daydream of swinging London, full of interludes, rendezvous and surreal vignettes (suggestive in their playful formalism of A Hard Day's Night), is still one of the most extraordinary presentations of the city on film.
(2) The big problem with The Knack… and How to Get It is that rape really isn’t funny. The film has a lot of good stuff in it, particularly the four main cast members, but the final section where the subject of rape is treated with such triviality, such flippancy, as comedy, and the hoary old cliché of rape being every woman’s fantasy is trotted out, makes the humour just feel unpleasant and impossible to enjoy.
Lively and extravagant sexual satire. Richard Lester's trademark blend of cinematic anarchism, surrealistic sketches and slap-stick comedy come perfectly in the backdrop of the swinging sixties London and its hedonistic inhabitants: mods and rockers coexisting with hostile hordes of middle-aged squares.