Man in the Orange Shirt
Friday, June 14, at 9pm ThinkTV14
A remarkable cast headed by Oscar-winner Vanessa Redgrave (Julia) portrays a pair of love stories, sixty years apart, linked by family ties, sexual identity, and a mysterious painting.
The plot opens on the Italian front near the end of World War II. British Captain Michael Berryman saves the life of a wounded fellow officer and recognizes him as Thomas March, an old schoolmate now serving as an official war artist. Though engaged to his childhood sweetheart, Flora, Michael feels a powerful attraction to Thomas, who feels the same way. After the artist’s recuperation, the two share a brief, passionate encounter before parting. With the war over, Michael looks up Thomas in London, and they spend a liberating, amorous weekend at Michael’s rundown country cottage. There, Thomas sketches Michael for a painting that will become “Man in an Orange Shirt.”
In an era when homosexuality in England was punished by prison, there is no hope of living together. Furthermore, Michael feels honor-bound to marry Flora, and he asks Thomas to be his best man. This sets the stage for a turbulent marriage, not least because Flora suspects nothing about her fiancé’s sexual preference.
Scripted by bestselling novelist Patrick Gale, the film also stars Joanna Vanderham (The Paradise), Laura Carmichael (Downton Abbey), Julian Sands (A Room with a View), Frances de la Tour (The Collection), Adrian Schiller (Victoria, Beauty and the Beast), and Joanna David (Rebecca). Playing the star-crossed lovers are Oliver Jackson-Cohen (Mr. Selfridge), James McArdle (Salting the Battlefield), Julian Morris (Little Women), and David Gyasi (Interstellar).