The Knack… and How to Get It

In England, the times are a changing: it’s mods and rockers. On the day Nancy gets off the London train, cases in hand, 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. Serendipitously, Colin and his new lodger Tom meet up with Nancy while Colin’s buying a bed larger than Tolen’s. The three hit it off, but their simple fun ends when Tolen meets Nancy. Colin is jealous but impotent, and Tolen both attracts and repels her. She swoons, wonders what happened, and cries ‘rape.’ Impish serendipity rubs against unsettling ambiguity.


San Francisco physician Archie Bollen is divorcing, sorting out new relationships with his ex, her new man, his sons, and friends who knew him as part of a couple. At a charity event, Petulia Danner, a young and lovely socialite, throws herself at him, telling him they should find a hotel room and soon announcing she intends to marry him. She’s quixotic, vulnerable, and not easy to dissuade. She’s also married and faces demons of her own. Bollen returns to his apartment one afternoon and finds her unconscious, savagely beaten, most certainly by her husband. How Archie and Petulia respond to the husband’s abuse are the film’s conclusion.