|Rosamund Stacey (Sandy Dennis), student daughter of socially dedicated parents — so dedicated that they seem to have little time to spare for her — discovers that she is pregnant as the result of her first sexual experience, with George (Ian McKellen), a BBC television announcer.|
They have made love in the flat of her parents who are abroad having left Rosamund to continue her studies and look after their London home.
Rosamund and George had been introduced by Joe (Michael Coles), an old friend and would-be lover of Rosamund.
An independent, determined girl, Rosamund's attempts to induce an abortion are interrupted by the unexpected arrival at the flat of Joe and other friends. She decides that she will have her baby, and against the advice of her elder sister (Deborah Stanford) and her friend Lydia (Eleanor Bron), she insists that she will bring it up herself.
"Sandy Dennis was eccentric on and offscreen. At home with her husband the jazz trumpeter Gerry Mulligan, she had a menagerie of cats and other pets. Her work was notable for her hesitant speaking and other mannerisms from "The Method" school of acting. The director cunningly sliced away at her "ums and ers" and left the essence of her performance (including a very good English accent) beautifully intact." — Ian McKellen, August 1999
|She is well aware of the isolation she must expect and resignedly suffers the indignities she has to experience when she visits the ante-natal clinic.|
When her time comes to go to the hospital to have her baby (she has made all the arrangements herself, even to telephoning for the ambulance) she ignores the advice of the ward sister (Rachel Kempson) to have the child adopted. Rosamund will continue her studies as well as bring up her baby, and she is just as adamant about not revealing the identity of the father.
Her baby daughter is taken ill and has to have a heart operation, but luckily for Rosamund the surgeon is an old friend of her father and she is given preferential treatment. She is again reminded that such treatment seems often denied other people when she wishees to see her baby daughter after the operation and is involved in an emotional scene with a somewhat bureaucratic sister. It is only when the sympathetic surgeon appreciates her problem that she is able to see her baby.
She meets George again by accident and although he goes back to her flat, and they gaze together at the sleeping infant in her crib, once more Rosamund does not tell him that he is the father of the child.
Rosamund realises that however much she may need a husband the only important thing in her life is her child.
"Ian McKellen, already an acclaimed stage actor, shows high film promise as the TV announcer who unsuspectingly fathers the child . . . " — Cecil Wilson, The Daily Mail, 9 October 1969
"Ian McKellen brings to his role as the probably bisexual young B.B.C. newscaster who gets Miss Dennis pregnant exactly the right quality of flexible shy elegance." — Roger Greenspan, The New York Times, 20 August 1969
Ian McKellen as "George" in A Touch of Love