The L-Shaped Room

The L-Shaped Room is a 1962 British drama film, directed by Bryan Forbes, which tells the story of a young French woman, unmarried and pregnant, who moves into a London boarding house, befriending a young man in the building.[2] It stars Leslie Caron and Tom Bell.[3] The work is considered part of the kitchen sink realism school of British drama.[4][5]

The L-Shaped Room
Directed byBryan Forbes
Produced byRichard Attenborough
Jack Rix
James Woolf
Written byBryan Forbes
adapted from novel by Lynne Reid Banks
StarringLeslie Caron
Tom Bell
Brock Peters
Music byJohn Barry
CinematographyDouglas Slocombe
Edited byAnthony Harvey
Distributed byBritish Lion Films (UK)
Columbia Pictures (US)
Release date
Running time
126 min.
Box office$1,000,000 (US/ Canada)[1]

The film was adapted by Bryan Forbes from the novel by Lynne Reid Banks.[6]

Leslie Caron's performance won her the Golden Globe Award and BAFTA Award for best actress, and earned her a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actress.[7][8][9]


A 27-year-old French woman, Jane Fosset (Caron), arrives alone at a run down boarding house in Notting Hill, London, moving into an L-shaped room. Beautiful but withdrawn, she encounters the residents of her house, each a social outsider in his or her own way, including a gay black horn player.[6]

Jane is pregnant and has no desire to marry the father. On her first visit to a doctor, she wants to find out if she really is pregnant and consider her options. The doctor's facile assumption that she must want either marriage or an abortion insults her to the extent that Jane determines to have the child. She and Toby (Bell) start a romance, which is disrupted when he learns that she is pregnant by a previous lover. They try to work things out, but he is also unhappy with his lack of income or success as a writer.

Jane befriends the other residents and they help her when she goes into labour. Toby visits her in the hospital and gives her a copy of his new book, called The L-Shaped Room. After leaving the hospital, Jane journeys home to her parents in France, saying goodbye to the room where she had lived for seven months.



Peter Katin's recording of Johannes Brahms's Piano Concerto No. 1 in D minor, Op. 15 is used as the background music, and excerpts occur frequently throughout the film.[3] The original film score was composed by John Barry.[10]

A recording of the song 'Take Me Back to Dear Old Blighty' sung in the film was sampled at the beginning of the title track of the album The Queen Is Dead by The Smiths.

Critical reception

In The New York Times, Bosley Crowther wrote "[Leslie Caron] pours into this role so much powerful feeling, so much heart and understanding, that she imbues a basically threadbare little story with tremendous compassion and charm.The credit, however, is not all Miss Caron's. She must share it with an excellent cast, including Tom Bell, a new actor who plays the writer on a par with her. Particularly she must share it with the remarkable young director Bryan Forbes, who also wrote the screenplay from a novel by Lynne Reid Banks. Mr Forbes is a sometime actor whose first directorial job was last year's beautiful and sensitive Whistle Down the Wind. In this little picture, he has achieved much the same human quality, with shadings of spiritual devotion, as in that."[5]



  1. "Top Rental Features of 1963", Variety, 8 January 1964 p 71. Please note figures are rentals as opposed to total gross.
  2. "BFI Screenonline: L-Shaped Room, The (1962)".
  3. "The L-shaped Room (1962)". BFI.
  4. "Where to begin with kitchen sink drama". British Film Institute.
  5. Crowther, Bosley (28 May 1963). "Screen: 'L-Shaped Room':Leslie Caron Grows Up in Harsh Story" via
  6. Benn, Melissa (27 September 2010). "The L-Shaped Room". Retrieved 3 June 2018.
  7. "BAFTA Awards".
  8. "Leslie Caron".
  9. "The L-Shaped Room (1962) - Bryan Forbes - Awards". AllMovie.
  10. "The L-Shaped Room (1962) - Bryan Forbes - Cast and Crew". AllMovie.
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