Thursday 4 April 2013

Movie Review: Lola (1970)

An unsettling mix of the plain creepy and the mildly dreamy, Lola is an outright oddity. Charles Bronson in a romantic movie is already an unhinging experience, but the story of a vague relationship between a middle aged man and a perpetually mini-skirted schoolgirl would be bizarre in any context.

In London, Lola (Susan George) and American author Scott (Charles Bronson) seem to be in love, and their relationship is scandalizing Lola's family. She is 16, he is 38, and to make matters worse, he writes schlocky underground porn novels that are banned in the UK. When their affair begins to attract unwanted attention, they decide to get married in Scotland, where 16 year olds can legally wed.

Lola and Scott relocate to New York, where Scott gets into a scuffle with a policeman and earns a short stint in prison for his troubles. While he is behind bars, Lola rents an apartment for them. But once they settle into a life of domesticity, Scott hits a bad patch of writer's block, and Lola's girlishness proves to be a severe nuisance.

Lola (also known as Twinky) works hard to maximize the icky factor. By placing an action star in a romance lead, designating his profession as a writer of low-brow sex-drenched fiction, then focusing on a relationship with a schoolgirl less than half his age and opening questions of whether or not the liaison constitutes statutory rape, the Norman Thaddeus Vane script dances between controversial and cruddy.

For a romance, Lola does a really poor job colouring in the fundamentals of the central relationship between Scott and Lola. Why these two admittedly interesting people should ever have fallen for each other remains a mystery that undermines most of the premise. As a result, the film is neither good enough to warrant any serious examination nor horrible enough to be utterly dismissible, so it just exists in a state of flabbergasting suspended repudiation.

Not being able to punch, shoot, or kill anyone, Charles Bronson (aged around 49 at the time of filming) actually has to act, and he is not bad. His Scott Wardman is initially caught somewhere in the vacuum between lust, love and pity towards Lola. Later she just becomes an irritant distracting him from work with her juvenile behaviour, and Bronson is believable in transitioning his perspective on the relationship.

Susan George (around 19 when Lola was filmed) speaks with an annoying high tone, but is otherwise perfect as the chatty teenager enjoying the thrill of apparent attention from an older man. George conveys Lola's naive but successful independence streak, as she pro-actively pushes the agenda of her life against seemingly long odds. She wears the shortest possible mini skirts in all weather conditions as a symbol of obstinate independence.

In supporting and sometimes tiny roles, an interesting cast includes Honor Blackman as Lola's mom, and British stalwarts such as Jack Hawkins, Trevor Howard, Lionel Jeffries, and Robert Morley. The London and New York locations provide Lola with a breezy swinging sixties personality.

Interesting for all the wrong reasons, Lola is a dreggy curiosity.

All Ace Black Movie Blog reviews are here.


  1. After watching Chato's Land and Braveheart Pass, I'm on this.. Hard to believe this one. Definitely the other two are more believable. Susan George is really good. She made nothing else?

    1. Yeah, this one is weird. Susan George appeared in about 30 movies, most notably Straw Dogs (1971) with Dustin Hoffman, Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry (1974) with Peter Fonda, and Mandingo (1975).


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