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Take a Girl Like You
updated 1.31.2002

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
I was flipping through the channels, thoroughly bored by all I found on network television, as well as cable. I decided to see what my old friend PBS was up to and came across the second half of Take A Girl Like You. Not having the TV Guide handy, and not having seen the opening credits, I did not know the name of this wonderful film with great acting and an outstanding plotline.

My search for the book this film was based on started the very next day. I have found it, after sitting down to look through the entire Masterpiece Theatre Online Archive! It was not time spent in vain! I am so glad you put on this production. I have been a fan of Masterpiece Theatre since Nostromo aired, but this is now definitely my favorite film. I wish it were available on home video!

I will add to the debate of whether this sort of programming should be allowed on public television or not. I think that Amis is a great author, and while his characters lack a certain moral appeal, you can see his satire through this and realize he doesn't approve. He writes in a provocative, albeit simplistic style. He tells you what happens and says nothing more.

I would LOVE to see more great contemporary authors shown on Masterpiece Theatre. No one ever said that great literature only involves the 18th and 19th century. Thanks again, PBS!

Ryan Johnson
Webster, IN

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
Take a Girl Like You was a fantastic movie! The style and humor of the work was inspiring, and while it is true that the sexual content was a bit graphic at times, it was in keeping with the novel -- the primary source material. I wish there were more such programming around; sadly, there is not.

Thank you for fresh, witty, engaging programming. Utterly cool.

Julia B.
Chicago, IL

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
I just watched Part One of Take a Girl Like You and I came to to get the storyline for Part Two, which unfortunately I'll be missing -- darn! I think it's great that your Web site has the many features it does to help me gain a greater insight into a particular story. For example, in Take a Girl Like You, I not only learned more about the author and cast members, it gave me enough juice to want to read Kingsley Amis's book of the same title. Keep up the good work; your programming has lots of CLASS! I'll be a viewer forever if you keep feeding me these wonderful stories.

Carol Kindt
Flemington, NJ

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
I was surprised and overjoyed to recognize the background music in the opening scenes of Take a Girl Like You. Jimmy Giuffre was active in the '50s and '60s as a jazz musician and composer in Southern California. I am very curious to find how his music found its way into a British production. Four Brothers has become a classic but Down Home was in an album that few people besides me ever bought. Is it possible that he is still alive? The production and the music were great.

John Carlson
Ventura, CA

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
I enjoyed the first half of Take a Girl Like You, but I was surprised there was no credit given for the excellent soundtrack of '50s jazz. The music is clearly integral to the story, the period and the mood (as mentioned by the screenwriter). I'm curious about the musicians and the titles of the compositions. Was it an original score? Was some of it actually period music?

Thank you.

Louis Ocepek
Las Cruces, NM

We have received many questions from viewers about the soundtrack for Take a Girl Like You. Unfortunately, no soundtrack has been released to date but the following song list may be of interest. In addition to the titles below, both episodes featured an original score by Rupert Gregson-Williams.

Episode One:
Disc Jockey Stomp, Mulligan/Kruppa
Doodlin', Horace Silver
Embraceable You, George Gershwin
La Strada, Nino Rota
Nice to Come Home To, Cole Porter
Tangerine, Mercer/Schertzinger
The Love Game, May/Silversteed (live performance taken from TV show The Billy Cotton Band Show)
Trade Wind Hornpipe, D Barker (signature tune for the radio program The Navy Lark)
Train & River, by Jimmy Guiffre
Two Kind of Blues, by Jimmy Guiffre

Episode Two:
California Cool, Dick Walter
Cheek to Cheek, Irving Berlin
Cruisin' Rodeo, Steve Sidwell
Disc Jockey Jump, Mulligan/Kruppa
Doodlin', Autry/Rose
Tangerine, Mercer/Schertzinger
Two Kind of Blues, Jimmy Guiffre
You'll Never Walk Alone, Rogers and Hammerstein

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
I've enjoyed Kingsley Amis novels since reading Lucky Jim in 1960. I believe that Jenny Bunn has a lot in common with aloof, attractive Christine in that book. Men assume that both these women are sophisticated and sexually experienced because of their beauty where, in fact, they are naive and ambivalent in their relationships with men. I found the first episode of Take a Girl Like You to be quite engaging and look forward to viewing the conclusion. (Rupert Graves is nicely cast as the "local Don Juan.")

Robert Sprich
Newton, MA

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
If Take a Girl Like You is the future of PBS, my family and I think you may as well pull the plug right now.

Dennis Sullivan
Colorado Springs, CO

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
I was flipping through the channels when I saw Take a Girl Like You and was immediately drawn to it. I am glad that you have chosen to air this film. I cannot wait to see Part Two! I came to this Web site in the first place because I liked it so much. I am really enjoying the Web site, too. Thank you for it.

Kimberly Marchant
Little Rock, AR

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
I believe that the Masterpiece Theatre production of Take a Girl Like You could have been a worthwhile program to watch, except for the unnecessary sexual escapades. I suggest that if the storyline could not be altered that you find a story that is more acceptable. This is not acceptable programming on public tv and you wonder why more of us do not support it!

Les Malone
Kansas City, MO

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
Who wouldn't like to "take a girl like her?" Where has Jenny been hiding, what a hottie! This movie stirs the imagination. The emotions of lust and love are abound in this classic!

Todd Beaton
Blandon, PA

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
Take a Girl Like You was absolutely fabulous! I loved the wit and underlying desires of all the characters. Bravo for a great show.

Ellen Grafton
Spring Lake, MI

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
I saw Part One of Take a Girl Like You last night and thought it was the best piece of filmmaking that I have seen in ages. These days it's almost shocking to see a movie that doesn't rely upon bombastic special effects or spectacular crimes to sell itself.

Kirk Taylor
Ann Arbor, MI

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
I watched Masterpiece Theatre last night and was dismayed with the level of explicit sex being played out in Take a Girl Like You. Now don't start thinking I'm a prude: I consider myself an intellectual, a liberal AND an artist. I would expect to find a piece like this on one of my cable channels, but NOT on PBS. Is this the new face of PBS? You are going to feel the ire of the Fundamentalist if you don't watch out. Shades of National Endowment for the Arts. Beware!

E. J. Hud
Cascade, WI

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
I watched Take a Girl Like You at some ungodly hour in the morning, but I thought it was absolutely wonderful and I want to see more of it!!!

Larissa Raineri
Cocoa Beach, FL

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
What I could hear of the dialogue in Take a Girl Like You, I enjoyed. However, the director seemed so intent on emphasizing the time period and atmosphere with loud music, both as part of the scene and as background, that it was frequently impossible to understand the actors. Normally, I don't have trouble with the upper- and middle-class English accents on Masterpiece Theatre, but the loud music defeated me this time.

Martin Evelev
Birmingham, MI

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
Thank you for airing Take A Girl Like You. It is a brilliantly directed and filmed adaptation of a wonderful book. Bravo for such good taste. I'm 21 years old and watch PBS more now than ever. I'm also deeply in love with Frontline. Keep up the good work.

Danielle Hidalgo
New Britain, CT

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
We first watched Masterpiece Theatre when The Jewel in the Crown started. We were so taken with it that we bought a VCR ($700) just to be sure we never missed a program. There have been many hours of wonderful programming since. Lately, however, the quality of material leaves us wondering if we have somehow switched to a network soap opera by mistake. It's not just Take a Girl Like You, which we decided to give the benefit of the doubt last night, but for some time now we have felt a shallowness of content in the selections.

We would prefer to have you start from the beginning with The First Churchills (before our membership), or to show something as intriguing as Riley Ace of Spies. The only thing which kept us watching last night was fact that the network was even worse. Next week, we will read.

Dean and Norma Munson
Rockford, IL

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
We have watched Masterpiece Theatre since it began 30 years ago. Its high standards and wonderful material have set it apart from the rest of the material offered on the airwaves, very little of which we watch.

However, we were repulsed and angered by the scenes portrayed in Take a Girl Like You of a woman sitting on a toilet with her panties around her ankles, and by another giving a close-up, highly graphic display of another woman vomiting. Quite apart from the liberal use of profanity, which also detracted from the quality of the story, these scenes have taken PBS to a low we never believed it was capable of. We're no prudes, but none of this added to the quality of the story. We switched it off. We'll switch off for good if your programs follow this pattern. Why on earth can you not edit garbage like this out? We are familiar with arguments regarding censorship, but if you took a poll of your viewers, we're willing to bet that 99% of the people who saw this show feel exactly the same way.

We don't like Russell Baker, either; please get rid of him as a host. He adds nothing to Masterpiece Theatre. Alistair Cook was great. If she's available, why not get Diana Rigg? She's wonderful on Mystery!

Brian Cole
Vancouver, BC

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
I have watched the superb Masterpiece Theatre for the 30 years of its existence. It has been a joy in my life to be able to view the finest actors in the world, right here in my home. The many, many programs have, as a rule, been elegantly written and professionally performed. I am familiar with and dedicated to public television in most of its' endeavors, served on the Board of our local PBS channel for several years, and later volunteered at the station.

The recent production of Take A Girl Like You marks the first time that I have been appalled with one of your selections. The book itself was a poor choice, for starters, and the lead actors were barely adequate. My most serious complaint, however, was with the immoral slant of the plot. Sexual encounters have always been a subject for comedy, and rightly so, but this plot focused on an ethical, personally dedicated young woman who was trying to live up to her high standards, and a reprobate who tried to degrade her -- and DID! The sex scenes were graphic in the extreme (they would have been perfectly in place had they been on the Playboy Channel), and the storyline vapid. I have not read Mr. Amis's book, so I can't compare the production to his storyline, but the plot that I saw was depressing and disheartening. Sexual predators, playboy philanders, date rape, and a few of the other scenes were less than laudable. Please consider the true moral values of life in the selection of materials to show on our excellent public broadcasting network.

Doris Manuel
Orlando, FL

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
The Art of Self Gratification would probably have been a better title than Take a Girl Like You. It was rather disappointing to see Jenny Bunn (Sienna Guillory was perfect for the part) eventually fall for the guilt-trip -- it teaches a bad lesson to today's teens. Boys, pile on a heap of guilt and girls, you might as well go down early because you are going to eventually. The problem was that the moral of the story was hurried through in a few lines at the end of two hours of "comedy" (I did not really see anything very funny, but I did see an awful lot of people hurting people). They play emotional tag, have sex, get married, and then get divorced. The real moral to Take a Girl Like You is that these people did not have what it takes to succeed -- i. e., lust does not make a love that lasts.

John Hathorn
Houston, TX

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
Bravo PBS! You've done it again! Take a Girl Like You is sexy, provocative, and just plain fun! I am anxious to read the novel. Keep up the good work!

Kimberly Ross
Washington, DC

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
I thought Take a Girl Like You was shallow and silly, rather than brilliant, no matter who wrote it. It smacks more of Friends than any '50s manners play. The character development was nonexistent, and frankly, I found myself not caring what happened to any of the characters. I lived through this era and found it very difficult to relate to such juvenile characters.

Roger Towne
Lewisburg, KY

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
I don't know about any of you, but I loved Take a Girl Like You! It made me cry because it made me feel so lonely. (Why do they find the right men for them, and I don't?) But I really cannot describe how great I thought this show was. I liked the fact that it told the story so well, and I didn't really care that I lost hours of sleep watching it.

Jennie Foote
Climax, MI

Dear Masterpiece Theatre,
How could you put a feather-weight show like this on Masterpiece Theatre? The plot is basically about a nice girl that has trouble warding off suitors. Period. The acting isn't up to par, either (not that the actors have much to work with). This is the worst series since Frenchman's Creek, which was the first time in over 20 years that I turned Masterpiece Theatre off. Please return to your high standards! If we want fluff, there is plenty to choose from on all the other channels.

Lynne Klemmer
Lexington, MA

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