A juvenile offender (Sir Tom Courtenay) at a tough reform school impresses its Governor (Sir Michael Redgrave) with his running ability and is encouraged to compete in an upcoming race, but faces ridicule from his peers.
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.
Arthur, one of Britain's angry young men of the 1960s, is a hardworking factory worker who slaves all week at his mindless job for his modest wages. Come Saturday night, he's off to the pub for a loud and rowdy beer session. With him is Brenda, his girlfriend of the moment. Married to a fellow worker, she is nonetheless captivated by his rugged good looks and his devil-may-care attitude. Soon a new love interest Doreen enters and a week later, Brenda announces she's pregnant. She tells Arthur she needs money for an abortion, and Arthur promises to pay for it. By this time, his relationship with Doreen has ripened and Brenda, hearing of it, confronts him. He denies everything, but it's obvious that their affair is all but over.Written by
Albert Finney's first film is set in the North of England in the late 1950s. Times are changing as living standards rise quickly and social attitudes become more flexible - or are they? Whereby, of course, hangs the film. Arthur Seaton is out for a good time within the confines of his life and the film foreshadows attitudes that became prevalent in later decades.
Shot in black and white, probably to give a realstic feel, and the scenes at the fairground are particularly good even today.
I spotted a street and pub near to my home in London used as one of the night exteriors, so although some must have been shot in the grim North, parts of London stood in for Nottingham.
The film is short, pithy and refreshing and even if the central character isn't that nice a guy, your sympathy is with him. British cinema at its best. 8 out of 10 from me.
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