Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

The Killing of Sister George (1968)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

The Killing of Sister George (1968, UK)

In director Robert Aldrich's milestone 'lesbian' film - a groundbreaking and sensational melodrama noted as the first X-rated film by a respected director and actors, and the first film to openly depict a lesbian love scene in a mainstream feature film; this black comedy was subsequently banned, but re-rated a few years later as "R," like most X-rated films in the late 60s:

  • the lesbian relationship between aging, often drunk, outspoken, cigar-smoking, unrepentent, butch or bull-dyke actress June 'George' Buckridge (Beryl Reid), and Alice McNaught (Susannah York) (nicknamed 'Childie'), June's passive, girlish-acting, live-in lover - an avid Victorian doll collector
  • the depiction of the butch-femme and the master-slave relationship between Childie and George, exhibited during the repugnant scene in which George forced Childie to eat the butt of her cigar; Childie was compelled to recite: "I show my contrition...I eat the butt of your cigar"; although Childie first regarded the cigar as disgusting, she soon appeared to be sexually excited by it, aggravating George who yelled out: "Stop it! Stop it!"; Childie acted disobediently: "I don't have to do anything I don't want to"
The Cigar-Eating Scene:
Master/Slave Relationship Between June and Alice
  • June played the role of a cheerful and beloved nurse named "Sister George" in the popular BBC-TV series soap opera Applehurst - she was being oppressively threatened with being "killed off" by the nervous station owners (aka 'The Killing of Sister George'), led by closeted, well-dressed, TV producer/executive Mercy Croft (Coral Browne)
  • the lengthy scene in a real-life lesbian bar (the local Gateways Club in London) - a remarkable sequence due to its authenticity, where the two main protagonists (June or 'George' and Alice or 'Childie') dressed as Laurel and Hardy, attended a costume ball, and performed a dance-skit in front of an all-girl band and large audience of real clientele
  • the subsequent scene of Mercy's arrival at the gay bar, where she announced to June that she was about to lose her job - because of June's scandalous, alcoholic-fueled personal lifestyle; she coldly told her that her character was being killed off in a week: "I'm sorry, Miss Buckridge, it is the end of Sister George...Believe me, Miss Buckridge, this decision is no reflection on your ability as an actress. You helped to create a character that has become a nationwide favorite"; in the TV series, Mercy explained that Sister George would die after being struck by a delivery truck on her motor scooter
  • the intense competition between Mercy and June when the predatory Mercy began to take an interest in Alice and made advances toward her; June called Mercy "a mealy mouthed old boot." June caught Alice in a lie about her whereabouts when she snuck off to meet with Mercy
  • in one of the later scenes, June/Miss Buckridge was offered a consolation prize by Mrs. Margaret Coote (Cicely Walper) - she would assume the title role (voice only) in a new show - a children's TV program: "The World of Clarabelle Cow"; the character of Clarabelle Cow, an animated marionette, was described to June: "A very human one, I assure you. Full of little foibles and prejudices."; June reiterated: "A flawed, credible cow" and appeared very upset and objected to the downgraded position: "You mean you want me to play the part of a cow?... Mrs. Coote, I have no intention of playing the part of a cow in any manner, shape or form! Is that absolutely crystal bloody clear?"
  • afterwards, the drunken June openly admitted to Childie that she was an alcoholic: "Drunk? Appearing to be drunk happens to be one of the easier ways of getting through some of life's most embarrassing situations. You should know that"; June also made an unrestrained insult toward Mercy, in regards to her attention toward Alice: "Would you like to examine her? She's all there. Not exactly untouched, as we might say, by human hands but quite serviceable." After Alice and Mercy went off together, June was notified by rival actor Leo Lockhart (Ronald Fraser) that Mercy and Alice had left: "I think you'll find your bird has flown"
  • the notoriously raw, extended lesbian love-making seduction scene between Alice and Mercy in Alice's apartment bedroom, lying on her back next to two of her favorite dolls, Emmeline and Jane; Mercy persisted in touching and caressing Alice's left nipple, first through her blouse, and then after Alice obliged by opening the front of her blouse to expose her breasts; Mercy then leaned forward and kissed Alice's neck (with her nipple still exposed), and moved down to her left nipple to kiss it and the rest of Alice's bare chest; it appeared that Alice experienced an earth-shattering orgasm; then they fervently kissed each other
The Explicit Lesbian Seduction Scene in Alice's Bedroom:
Mercy and Alice
  • the sequence of an enraged June's discovery of both of them in a mutually-seductive position - she cried out: "What a perfect little gem for the Sunday press. Did it have to be here?"
  • June accused Mercy of having her purposely fired, in order to be with Alice: "You think you're so bloody powerful, don't you? What will your precious employers say when they find you had me sacked, so that you would creep into bed with my...With someone I..."; Mercy: "With someone you what? You stupid woman. I didn't have you sacked. If you'd taken the trouble to read the confidential material that you stole from my briefcase, you'd know that you were dismissed because you're a fat, boring actress. And people are sick to death of you"
  • June was devastated by the impending loss of Alice, and implored her to stay: "But you can't just - I mean, after all this time. What's gonna happen? Do you think you can live with her? I mean, you know, together, like we've been? We can't just throw everything away because you...Don't go, Childie"; as Alice was about to leave, June impulsively slapped her across the face: "You cruel little bitch!" Mercy witnessed the slap and judged June as violent, indecent and uncivilized
  • June tore into Mercy for judging her and for seducing the younger Alice: "Why don't you save your lectures for the office, you sanctimonious slut?"; Mercy shot back: "If you lose your little girl, it's because you're a dreary, inadequate, drunken old bag! Look at yourself, you pathetic old dyke. You don't seriously imagine you're any young girl's dream of bliss. Do you?"
  • June refused to let Childie walk out on her, and couldn't hold back when Mercy called Childie a "poor child" - she divulged all of Childie's sordid past: "The poor child likes us to pretend that she's a baby. But have a look at her. Have a close look at her. You know she's not a baby. But I'll tell you something you don't know...That so-called child you've got there is a woman. She's 32. She's damn near old enough to be a grandmother. Oh yes, you've got yourself a prize packet here, and no mistake. She had an illegitimate child when she was 15. She's got an abandoned daughter who's almost old enough to be of interest to you, Mercy, dear...You two are going to be very happy together. Very happy"; Childie left with Mercy - never to return
  • in the heartbreaking and tragic conclusion on the deserted TV set, after June was confirmed to have lost her job as 'Sister George,' she destroyed the darkened BBC-TV set (including her own fake bloody coffin that she criticized: "Even the bloody coffin's a fake!") by pushing over equipment, and then sank down on a bench in despair; she wailed or moaned out three cow "Moos" - "Moo. Moo! MOOOOOO!" - as the camera moved away with each successive utterance - she was practicing for her next job as a voice artist for a cow named Clarabelle Cow
"Moo. Moo! MOOOOOO!"

Alice ("Childie")

June Buckridge
(aka 'Sister George')

The Predatory Mercy - Interested in Alice

Lesbian Bar: Dressed as Laurel & Hardy in Gateways Club

Mercy to June: "It is the end of Sister George"

Mrs. Margaret Coote Announcing June's New Role - the voice of Clarabelle Cow

Catching Them in the Act: "Did it have to be here?"

June's Ultimate Confrontation with Mercy About Alice: "She had an illegitimate child when she was 15..."

"Even the bloody coffin's a fake!"


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