The 1970 Miss World pageant was a notably dramatic and historic affair—one that is outlined in Jennifer Hosten’s autobiography Miss World 1970: How I Entered A Pageant And Wound Up Making History and its star-studded film adaptation, Misbehaviour. Starring Keira Knightly, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Jessie Buckley, Greg Kinnear, and Downton Abbey’s Phyllis Logan, the comedic drama follows the highly publicized clash between the burgeoning Women’s Liberation Movement and the perceived tenets of pageant culture—that is, objectifying sexism and misogyny. Knightley plays Sally Alexander, an academic and one of the activists leading the charge against Miss World. Logan plays her mother, Evelyn, who still holds the ideals of female propriety close.
Here’s Misbehaviour’s official synopsis:
In 1970, the Miss World competition took place in London, hosted by US comedy legend, Bob Hope. At the time, Miss World was the most-watched TV show on the planet with over 100 million viewers. Claiming that beauty competitions demeaned women, the newly formed Women’s Liberation Movement achieved overnight fame by invading the stage and disrupting the live broadcast of the competition. Not only that, when the show resumed, the result caused uproar: the winner was not the Swedish favourite but Miss Grenada, the first black woman to be crowned Miss World. In a matter of hours, a global audience had witnessed the patriarchy driven from the stage and the Western ideal of beauty turned on its head.
In the following exclusive clip, Knightley and Logan square off in a battle between stagnant and progressive thought. Directed by Philippa Lowthorpe, Misbehaviour will be available on VOD September 25. Check out the clip below.