The Knack emerges as a serious contender as the film which best defines and captures the essence of the sixties. As a product of its age, it convincingly portrays an image of 'swinging London' that so dominated the media at that time. It is an enduring image, which has long since seeped into our collective consciousness.
Today, The Knack appears, at best, to be an attempt at understanding the changing moral landscape that was being radically redrawn during this era. As a piece of contemporary film making, it manages to capture the spirit of that age perfectly. What it doesn't necessarily do is make sense of it all. The 1960s was, after all, a period of rapid social and political change - an age of cold war tension, supersonic invention and lunar landing pretensions, combined with increasing freedom for teenagers, both in terms of sex and spending power.
The quartet of principal actors, Crawford, Tushingham, Brooks & Donnelly all give bravura performances. Richard Lester's direction was exemplary; indeed, he has probably not made a better film since those heady days. The locations, featuring some rather dingy-looking parts of the capital, look all the more so thanks to the decision to film in monochrome. This was particular brave considering the colourful times the film was depicting. The one ingredient which most of all created the sense of playfulness indicative of the film was John Barry's wonderfully mischievous jazz-tinged pop score. One cannot imagine the film without it, which is the highest compliment one can pay to a film soundtrack.
There is no doubt that The Knack was and remains a stylish movie, albeit rooted in its time. No viewer can fail to date its origin correctly ... yet that's precisely what makes this celluloid time-capsule such a fascinating viewing experience. It exists as the archetypal mid-sixties art-house movie, which, like the decade in which it was written, took risks, dared to be different, and, if it didn't always succeed, sure as hell made an impression.