Nasty Habits

Leave it to the British to deliver the sharpest skewering of American politics; Michael Lindsay-Hogg’s 1977 Nasty Habits, an adaptation of Muriel Spark’s The Abbess of Crewe, manages to gather both the absurdity of Watergate and the callousness of religious hypocrisy into the same satirical net by transposing our country’s greatest scandal – at least until now – on to a power-play at a wealthy Philadelphia abbey. Glenda Jackson, in the “Nixon” role, anchors the piece with a finely-measured comedic performance, her arched-eyebrow scheming and erudite, with two-faced tyranny worthy of the best cinema villains. The rest of the cast, great female character performers filling out analogs for the Nixon administration, are equally possessed by the holy spirit of satire, relishing in the blasphemous fun of playing nuns breaking bad. With Geraldine Page, Sandy Dennis, Eli Wallach, and Rip Torn.

Dir. Michael Lindsay-Hogg, 1977, 35mm, 96 min.

Watch the Cinefamily original trailer