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Poor Cow 1967
Description: The first of few social realism movies by Ken Loach, this had less impact than those made as TV plays. Terrible Cow follows the tangled life of Joy, who turns to Dave after her lover is jailed for theft. When Dave in turn is jailed, she is left with a son to keep. When he goes missing, she sees what's important.
Released: 31 Jan 1968 Director: Ken Loach Writers: Nell Dunn (screenplay), Ken Loach (screenplay), Nell Dunn (novel) Actors: Carol White, John Bindon, Queenie Watts, Kate Williams Genres: Drama
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See Poor Cow - Colours on youtube.

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Poor Cow Reviews:

One of the greatest of the 'kitchen-sinks'. Wonderful views of London and invaluable snippets of working class life of the 60's. Loach's eye seems to capture everything, yet makes no judgment - a taste of things to come. As with 'Kes', 'Riff-raff' and 'Sweet Sixteen', it serves as a cinematic social history of Britain. Carol White is fully convincing, you love her, fancy her, wish to take care of her, but keep your head at her self-destructive decisions and still follow her in some vain hope. Well backed up by Terence Stamp, ( new off 'The collector', also catch 'The Hit' ) and a plethora of English faces ( all looking very young ). Pefectly set to Donovan's dulcet tones. Stamp sings 'Yellow is the color', in a lovely scene, ending with him saying, " Getting better, ain't I " ( song also used in 'The guidelines of Attraction' - I think ) Watch Carol Whites screen mum getting ready to 'go out and receive a bloke', putting on her false eye-lashes to the sound of 'Rosie' on the radio - priceless. A treasure for anyone who was around at the time and a reminder of how nice life is actually in England. Incidentally Soderburgh used clips from 'Poor cow' in 'The Limey'.


In terms of style this movie is revolutionary of the time. It should be defined as docudrama since the movie is shot in a style of realism. It portrays 1960's London as a poverty stricken bed of prostitution and crime. The main female protagonist seems to everytime seek male approval. She leaps from one bed to another, loving every of them in much the same method as Diana does in "Darling" 1965. It is hardly an example of feminism and the Radical changes in women's liberation within the 1960's. It does, however, possess a view of hope through all the grit. Dave shows how even a criminal can be loving, gentle and kind. The movie offers the audience a 2 hour exploration into the lives of the criminals in London at the time. It challenges the classic Hollywood narrative of peace, disruption and resolution. The narrative structure seems to float along with very tiny climaxs. This gives the feeling of realism, which many folks may search dull or boring. Don't expect your Hollywood Blockbuster. You will search a challenging Independant British film, documenting the feelings of the 1960s in an innovative and unconventional way.


Ken Loach showed the globe the down-and-out flip side of Swinging London with "Poor Cow", about London girl Joy (Carol White) hooking up with a thief and having a son with him, only to see the boy end up in the slammer. While his mate (Terence Stamp) manages to support her out some, he proves to be tiny better in what a loser he is. It later becomes clear to Joy that she's going to have to create a serious decision about where she's going in her life.One thing that I determined - I don't know whether or not this is accurate - was a test of irony in the movie. Her name is Joy, but she experiences no joy in her life. Even if that wasn't intended, it's still a film that I suggest to everyone. Featuring songs by Donovan (one of which - "Colors" - appeared in other Terence Stamp movie: "The Limey" (which, incidentally, came out in 1999, when I was as old as my parents were when "Poor Cow" came out)).



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