The World Ten Times Over (1963)

The World Ten Times Over
Director: Wolf Rilla
Writer: Wolf Rilla
Cast: Sylvia Syms, June Ritchie, Edward Judd, William Hartnell and about two seconds of Donald Sutherland

Plot:
Billa (Sylvia Syms) and Ginnie (June Ritchie) are roommates and best friends. Both of them drift from guy to guy. Ginnie is currently seeing Bobby (Edward Judd), married son of a rich real estate owner who is very much in love with her – which she doesn’t know how to handle. Billa, on the other hand, is meeting with her father (William Hartnell) and tries to make him see the truth about her life.

This movie could have been really interesting – movies about female friendships usually are to me. Unfortunately this was apparently written by a guy who is convinced that women are mysterious, ethereal creatures who are impossible to understand, so just stop trying and worship them already. Which doesn’t really work.

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The World Ten Times Over was probably quite a shocker at its time. You get to see a lot of skin, both girls are sexually active, neither is particularly interested in getting married or settling down. And this is the early 60s after all. And while I do appreciate that the movie villifies neither of them and seems to be on their side, it’s on their side more in principle than because of their actual characters.

Because it seems that Wolf Rilla didn’t actually see those two girls as human. Instead they are mischievous little fairies. They don’t know what they want, so they want something else every five minutes. And while there certainly are people who don’t know what they want (probably most people don’t), in this film it seemed like nobody was interested in figuring out what it could be. Because with women it’s impossible to know.

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Plus, Wolf Rilla gave direction to his actors about as competently as a high school drama teacher, meaning you have over-emphasized sighing and eye-rolling all over the place, and the editing was just atrocious.

That the movie remains at least watchable is due to the two absolutely charming leads – Sylvia Syms and June Ritchie – and a heartbreaking performance by William Hartnell. But that doesn’t really save the film.

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Summarising: you can skip it.

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