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A young British clerk in a gloomy North Country undertaker's office, Billy is bombarded daily by the propaganda of the media that all things are for the asking. This transparently false doctrine, coupled with the humdrum job and his wild imagination, leads him on frequent flights to "Ambrosia," a mythical kingdom where he is crowned king, general, lover or any idealized hero the real situation of the moment makes him desire. His vacillating commitment and post-adolescent immaturity have created situations which make Ambrosia all the more attractive. He's succeeded in becoming engaged to two different girls, simultaneously, while in love with a third, Liz. He's in hot water with his employer, having spent a rather large sum of postage money on his personal frivolities. And last, but not least, his dream of becoming a highly-paid, famous scriptwriter in London seems doomed to failure. The only person in his life capable of bringing him down to earth is Liz, and she's having a difficult ... Written by
Muriel Day mimes to the song "Twisterella", replacing the original vocalist who had fallen pregnant and was unable to fulfill her obligations. See more »
[after Billy reopens the door]
You rotten. lying, crossed-eyed git. You're nothing else.
William Terrence 'Billy' Fisher:
[clearly not wanting her to come inside]
Hello, Rita. Sorry, I can't ask you in. We're havin' our chimney swept.
They'll be havin' you swept before I finish.
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Moments of joy interspersed with gloomy kitchen-sink dramatics...
Tom Courtenay is colorless as a member of the British working class who daydreams his way out of the monotony of his life; Julie Christie is thoroughly charming as a local girl whose life really is a fairy tale. Adaptation of Keith Waterhouse's novel (which he co-wrote along with Willis Hall, having originally turned the material into a play), this mixture of stuck-in-a-rut reality with flights-of-fancy never quite finds its cinematic niche. The deceptively simple, 'non-flashy' flashy technique used by director John Schlesinger and his editor was quite fashionable for its time, and consequently very popular abroad, but the picture tends to flag whenever the scenario is purposefully drab (or whenever Christie is not on-screen). Courtenay just isn't interesting enough as a personality to carry this callow conceit, although he gets good support from Finlay Currie and Wilford Pickles. ** from ****
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