The plot follows the story of a virginal woman in 1960s Swinging London who is faced with a dilemma when pursued by both her father's older employer and the young lover of her promiscuous and pregnant flatmate.
Georgina Parkin (Lynn Redgrave) is a 22-year-old Londoner who has considerable musical talent, is well educated, and has an engaging if shameless manner. On the other hand, she believes herself to be plain, slightly overweight, dresses haphazardly, and is incredibly naïve on the subjects of love and flirtation; she has never had a boyfriend. She has an inventive imagination and loves children.
Her parents are the live-in employees of successful businessman James Leamington (James Mason). Leamington is 49 and has a loveless, childless marriage with Ellen (Rachel Kempson, Lynn Redgrave's real life mother). He has watched with affection as "Georgy" grew up, and has treated her as if he were her second father: he provided for her education, and for a studio in his own home in which she teaches dance to children. As Georgy has become a young woman, however, his feelings for her have become more than fatherly: James offers Georgy a legal contract, proposing to supply her with the luxuries of life in return for her becoming his mistress. Georgy sidesteps his proposal by never giving him a direct response; Leamington's business-like language and manner (and awkward inability to express any affection for her) leave her cold.
Georgy's flatmate is the beautiful Meredith (Charlotte Rampling), who works as a violinist in an orchestra, but is otherwise a shallow woman who lives for her own hedonistic pleasures. She treats the meekly compliant Georgy like an unpaid servant.
When Meredith discovers that she is pregnant by her boyfriend Jos Jones (Alan Bates), they get married. She tells him bluntly that she has already aborted two of his children, but she wants to marry because she's "bored." Jos moves in with the two young women. He becomes disillusioned with Meredith and begins to find himself attracted to Georgy, who convinces Leamington to buy several expensive items for the baby's care. While in the midst of an argument with Meredith over her cavalier attitude to her pregnancy, Jos suddenly kisses Georgy and tells her that he loves her. Georgy flees the apartment onto the streets of London, where Jos follows her, screaming over and over again that he loves her as he pursues her. The two return to the flat, where they consummate their new found love, after which there is a knock at the flat door by a friend of Meredith who tells them that Meredith has gone to the hospital to give birth. Jos and Georgy go to the hospital, where Georgy tries to comfort Meredith while she is in labour. Jos and Georgy's [secret] love affair continues.
Meredith gives birth to a daughter named Sara. Since she has no interest in the baby, and is tired of Jos, she announces that she plans to put the child up for adoption and divorce her husband.
Georgy and Jos set up home together in the flat, caring for baby Sara and living as a common-law married couple. It soon becomes clear that Georgy cares more for the baby than for having an adult relationship with Jos. Their relationship ends when Jos tires of a father's responsibilities, and abandons her and the baby. Now that Georgy is the sole caregiver of a baby to whom she has no blood ties, Social Services wish to remove baby Sara from her care.
In the meantime, Leamington's wife has died. Leamington, who was unable to express his true feelings for Georgy while his wife lived, now finds himself free to express his love for her and proposes marriage. Georgy accepts because this will allow her to keep Sara. The two marry despite the difference in their backgrounds and ages and officially adopt Sara, making Georgy a mother. In the car as the couple leaves the wedding with Sara, neither bride nor groom says a word. Georgy does not look at or pay attention to her new husband, focusing only on Sara as the film's title song, "Georgy Girl", proclaims in the background that all is well now: "who needs a perfect lover when you're a mother at heart...better try to tell yourself that you've got your way...now you've got a future planned for you...at least he's a millionaire...you're rich, Georgy Girl."
The film was successful at the box office. By 1967 it had earned an estimated $7 million in the United States and $6 million in other countries. By the end of 1967 it had earned $7,330,000 in rentals in North America according to rentals accruing to the distributors.
The title song, "Georgy Girl", written by Tom Springfield and Jim Dale, was recorded by Australian band The Seekers. A single release of the song (with somewhat different lyrics) topped the singles chart in Australia, and was a top-ten hit in both the UK and the US (#2 for two weeks). It was the 56th biggest British hit of 1967, and the 57th biggest American hit of 1967. It became a gold record, and was also nominated for an Academy Award in the Best Original Song from a Motion Picture category.Nominations
Best Actress: Lynn Redgrave
Best Actor in a Supporting Role: James Mason
Best Cinematography (Black-and-White): Ken Higgins
Best Music (Song): "Georgy Girl," Music by Tom Springfield; Lyrics by Jim Dale
The film was the basis for an unsuccessful musical stage adaptation called simply Georgy.
It was adapted for BBC Radio 4 in 2013 by Rhiannon Tise.