Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB. United Kingdom, 1960. Woodfall Film Productions. Screenplay by Alan Sillitoe, based on his novel. Cinematography by Freddie Francis. Produced by Tony Richardson. Music by John Dankworth. Production Design by Edward Marshall. Costume Design by Sophie Devine, Barbara Gillett. Film Editing by Seth Holt.
The Angry Young Man genre of British filmmaking rarely did better than this excellent melodrama set in a working class town. Albert Finney gives a starmaking performance as a factory worker who uses his free time to enjoy a drink at the local pub and charm the ladies with his good looks and aloof manner. He is also having an affair with his co-worker’s wife (Rachel Roberts), a liaison that wears thin when he meets a beautiful young woman (Shirley Anne Field) who could actually be for keeps. Karel Reisz’s unsentimental direction and the gritty screenplay are way ahead of the more soap-operatic Room At The Top, with marvelous performances that would lay the groundwork for more of the same kind of British New Wave films in the decade to come.