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Look Back in Anger (1959)

Approved | | Drama | 9 October 1959 (Italy)
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3:08 | Trailer

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

Director:

Tony Richardson

Writers:

John Osborne (play), Nigel Kneale (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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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:
Richard Burton ... Jimmy Porter
Claire Bloom ... Helena Charles
Mary Ure ... Alison Porter
Edith Evans ... Mrs. Tanner
Gary Raymond ... Cliff Lewis
Glen Byam Shaw Glen Byam Shaw ... Colonel Redfern
Phyllis Neilson-Terry Phyllis Neilson-Terry ... Mrs. Redfern
Donald Pleasence ... Hurst
Jane Eccles Jane Eccles ... Miss Drury
S.P. Kapoor S.P. Kapoor ... Kapoor
George Devine George Devine ... Doctor
Walter Hudd ... Actor
Anne Dickins Anne Dickins ... Girl A.S.M
John Dearth ... Pet Stall Man
Nigel Davenport ... 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:

RICHARD BURTON in the most dynamic performance seen in years! See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

9 October 1959 (Italy) See more »

Also Known As:

Paixão Proibida See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

£250,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Woodfall Film Productions See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Charles Saynor worked two days. See more »

Quotes

Helena Charles: How was it?
Jimmy Porter: It was a funeral... no flowers, no word, no sign...
Helena Charles: What do you mean?
Jimmy Porter: I mean Alison... the injustice of it is about perfect - the wrong people going hungry, the wrong people being loved, the wrong people dying.
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Soundtracks

Onward Christian Soldiers
(uncredited)
Music by Arthur Sullivan
Played by the Salvation Army Band
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Working Class Hero? ... hardly.
5 December 2007 | by MOscarbradleySee all my reviews

Before George and Martha there were Jimmy and Alison, the vituperate couple at the heart of Osborne's legendary play and I suppose you could say the British Kitchen Sink movement started here. The difference, of course, being that while the Arthur Seatons and Colin Smiths of this world were unequivocally working-class kicking against the system and the intelligentsia, Jimmy and Alison were the intelligentsia playing at being working-class. And therein lies the rub; unlike later 'kitchen sink' movies "Look Back in Anger" isn't so much looking back as mired in the past, an uneasy amalgam of the kind of British films that were coming out in the late fifties and the kind of ground-breaking British cinema that would come to prevail in the early sixties.

There is no denying it is extremely well played. Burton is loudly splendiferous as Jimmy yet he seems strangely miscast at the same time. Perhaps it's that booming, melodious voice; this is a Jimmy that is more Shakespeare than Osborne, (note how Olivier completely subsumed his Shakespearean tendencies to become the definitive Osborne hero in "The Entertainer"). By the time Burton got around to playing George in "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf" you could say he had grown into the part.

Better cast are Mary Ure as Alison and Claire Bloom as Helena. Their performances feel new and edgy, a move away from the traditional kind of performances that British actresses had been giving up to then while Gary Raymond is an admirable Cliff and a miscast Edith Evans does what she can with Ma Tanner. Tony Richardson opens it out from the Porter's depressing flat to give a more 'cinematic' feel yet it still feels stagey and not in a good way. It's a refreshingly 'grown-up' movie but you may still wonder what all the fuss was about when the original play first opened.


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