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This Sporting Life (1963)

Not Rated | | Drama, Sport | 24 May 1963 (Ireland)
Despite success on the field, a rising rugby star senses the emerging emptiness of his life as his inner angst begins to materialize through aggression and brutality, so he attempts to woo his landlady in hopes of finding reason to live.

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(based on the novel by), (screenplay)
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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 3 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Gerald Weaver
...
'Dad' Johnson
...
Maurice Braithwaite
Vanda Godsell ...
Mrs. Anne Weaver
Anne Cunningham ...
Judith
Jack Watson ...
Len Miller
...
Charles Slomer
Harry Markham ...
Wade
George Sewell ...
Jeff
...
Phillips, Sports writer
Katherine Parr ...
Mrs. Farrer
Bernadette Benson ...
Lynda Hammond
Andrew Nolan ...
Ian Hammond
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Storyline

In Northern England in the early 1960s, Frank Machin is mean, tough and ambitious enough to become an immediate star in the rugby league team run by local employer Weaver. Machin lodges with Mrs Hammond, whose husband was killed in an accident at Weaver's, but his impulsive and angry nature stop him from being able to reach her as he would like. He becomes increasingly frustrated with his situation, and this is not helped by the more straightforward enticements of Mrs Weaver. Written by Jeremy Perkins {J-26}

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Sport

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

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Language:

Release Date:

24 May 1963 (Ireland)  »

Also Known As:

Lockender Lorbeer  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Sean Connery was considered to play Frank Machin. Although he was interested in the film, it was decided that he lacked the finesse and aggression required. See more »

Quotes

Frank Machin: We don't have stars in this game, Mrs Weaver, that's soccer.
Mrs. Anne Weaver: What *do* you have?
Frank Machin: People like me.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Doctor Who: Origins (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

Walking Back to Happiness
Written by John Schroeder and Mike Hawker
Performed by Kim Leslie
Backed by Tommy Fisher and the Mis-Fits
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User Reviews

An early 60s masterpiece
20 October 1999 | by (Out there in the dark) – See all my reviews

This masterpiece by Lindsay Anderson should be on any film aficionado's must-see list. It is an uncompromising study of alienation, social class, maturity, and loneliness. Richard Harris gives a performance of astonishing realism: it seems unlikely he could ever surpass it. The character moves from physicalized anger to tenderness often within a moment. Harris builds to a completely believable dramatic eruption by the climax. He is matched along the way by Rachel Roberts, a great actress in an unforgettable role: a woman unwilling to let go of the past and the pain it contains.

Anderson populates the film with several other memorable characters. There are scenes of nearly unbearable intensity and anguish (Frank's drunken ballad sung in a bar, or Margaret's pleading to be left alone). Also of note, the film functions on two levels at once: in "real time" and in Frank's memory, which he may be coloring by his own reactions (something for the viewer to contemplate).

The black and white cinematography is often beautiful as it poeticizes Frank's plight (for example, near the end of the film, he ends up wandering along moonlit railway tracks in a world of steely, silvery loneliness. Also of note, the wonderfully nightmarish music by Roberto Gerhard, an avant-garde composer who differed with the director on the scoring the film.

See the film on DVD for maximum quality. Although the disc contains no special features, it is good to know this great picture has been preserved in the new medium.


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