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Look Back in Anger (1959)

7.2
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 1,792 users  
Reviews: 35 user | 16 critic

A disillusioned, angry university graduate comes to terms with his grudge against middle-class life and values.

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Title: Look Back in Anger (1959)

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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 1 win & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
Mrs. Tanner
...
Glen Byam Shaw ...
Phyllis Neilson-Terry ...
Mrs. Redfern
...
Hurst
Jane Eccles ...
Miss Drury
S.P. Kapoor ...
Kapoor
George Devine ...
Doctor
Walter Hudd ...
Actor
Anne Dickins ...
Girl A.S.M
John Dearth ...
Pet Stall Man
...
1st Commercial Traveller
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Storyline

Jimmy Porter is a loud, obnoxious man, rude and verbally abusive to his wife, Alison. Alison comes from an upper class family that Jimmy abhors and he berates Alison for being too reserved and unfeeling. Jimmy is college educated but works with a partner, Cliff Lewis, as a street vendor operating a candy stall. Cliff lives with Jimmy and Alison and is close friends with both. When Jimmy pushes Alison while she is at the ironing board she is burned. Alison visits her doctor where it is revealed that she is pregnant. She asks him if it is too late to do something about it but the doctor immediately tells her never to mention such an idea. When Jimmy leaves for work, Alison confides to Cliff that she is pregnant. She is frightened of Jimmy's reaction to this news, and has not told him. Jimmy is visited by his childhood nanny, Mrs. Tanner, whom Jimmy loves and calls "Mom." Alison tries to tell Jimmy of the pregnancy but is frustrated when Jimmy insults her for being cool towards Mrs. ... Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

An electrifying adult experience... from the sensational play by John Osborne that shocked the world! See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

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Details

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Language:

Release Date:

29 December 1959 (Denmark)  »

Also Known As:

Paixão Proibida  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The character of Ma Tanner was only referred to in the play, never seen. For the film version, she was brought vigorously to life by Edith Evans. See more »

Quotes

Helena Charles: Tell me, why did you?
Alison Porter: Marry him? Oh there must be about six different answers. I met him at a party, he'd come there on his bicycle and there was oil on his jacket, it had been such a lovely day, everything about him seemed to burn - his face, the edges of his hair glistened. His eyes were so blue and full of sun.
Helena Charles: So you took him on.
Alison Porter: There never seemed to be any choice.
See more »

Connections

Features Gunga Din (1939) See more »

Soundtracks

Music Excerpt
(uncredited)
from Tonight's the Night (1954)
Music by Stanley Black
See more »

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User Reviews

The pinnacle of the short lived British new wave

The late fifties marked the beginning of the short lived new wave in British Cinema. This was largely influenced by the burgeoning of the American cinema and stage as opposed to the staid outdated state of affairs in British culture. In that brief period a number of films were made which broke new ground in an effort to portray the often harsh reality of life for millions of Britons. Tony Richardson was perhaps the most prominent exponent of the kitchen sink/angry young man genre and "Look Back in Anger" one of his finest works.

Time has not been kind to a lot of the films which at the time may have seemed important. "Look Back in Anger" is one of the few which have retained its power, due to John Osborne's writing, Richardson's direction and outstanding performances by all.

It must have been an exciting time with the emergence of some exceptional young actors, (Alan Bates, Albert Finney, Tom Courtney, Rita Tushingham, Vanessa Redgrave, to name but a few) as well as a new generation of writers and directors. But it was not long before this exciting movement petered out and British cinema would be once again dominated by largely mediocre films.

"Look Back In Anger" has an emotional rawness to it which is still extremely effective. Osborne does not shy from exposing the ruthlessness his characters are capable of. It's a ruthlessness born of frustration and pain and as such one we can comprehend if not forgive.

Richard Burton in the lead gives a virtuoso performance, but it's the kind of acting which belongs on the stage. Burton, unlike many of his theatrical peers never quite got the hang of screen acting. He's always a number of shades to big. Still, when at his best (such as in "Night of the Iguana"), it's fascinating viewing, despite the overt theatricality.

Claire Bloom who had partnered Burton often on stage, is a fine match for the fiery Burton. The lesser known Mary Ure (Osborne's wife at the time) gives a remarkably touching portrayal as the torn and suffering spouse. Gary Raymond lends much charm in the role that was created by Alan Bates on the stage. And then there's the great Edith Evans in a small role; but then you know what they say about there being no small roles, only small actors. She certainly was one of the greats.

This is classic film making and one of the high points of British cinema, which has never regained its position in the making of exciting, intelligent and important films. Sadly director Tony Richardson too, never really fulfilled the promise of his outstanding early works.

Not one to miss.


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