Johnnie Byrne is a member of the British Parliament. In his 40s, he's feeling frustrated with his life and his personal as well as professional problems tower up over him. His desires to win the next election are endangered by his constant looking for love and he is faced with the choice of giving up a career in politics or giving up the woman he loves.Written by
Although this film was based on a novel by a serving Labour Member of Parliament (who had died before it appeared), it was widely regarded by critics as none-too-subtle propaganda for the Conservatives, of whom the head of the studio was a vocal supporter. See more »
The on street interview that Finch's character gives to a news film crew has somewhat different wordage (clearly from another take, that would not have happened with a news crew) when seen broadcast later on a television in a pub. See more »
Finch's performance makes Johnnie a person we can relate to
Johnnie Byrne (Peter Finch) is a British Labor party back bencher whose ambition overrides his principles and ultimately his humanity in Ralph Thomas' political drama No Love for Johnnie. Written by Nicholas Phipps' and Mordecai Richler's from a novel by Wilfred Fienburgh, the film is similar in theme to Room at the Top with its unlikable status-seeking protagonist. Unlike the Laurence Harvey, Simone Signoret classic, however, No Love for Johnnie never found its audience, though Finch's performance won him a BAFTA Award for Best Actor.
Just re-elected to Parliament from the working-class constituency of Earnley, the 42-year-old Byrne is not exactly a charmer, something his wife Alice (Rosalie Crutchley), an active CP member. notes as she decides to leave him. Passed over for a cabinet position by the Labor Prime Minister Reginald Stevens (Geoffrey Keen), Byrne schemes with a more radical faction of the Party to ask embarrassing questions of the Prime Minister during a parliamentary debate but, after some quiet reassurances from Stevens, he decides to skip the Q and A. Notable here are Stanley Holloway, Geoffrey Keen, Donald Pleasence and Mervyn Johns as nondescript British politicians but it is always Finch who dominates the screen.
The plot, however, turns away from jealousy, ambition, and back stabbing long enough to generate a romance. Johnnie's upstairs neighbor, Mary (Billie Whitelaw) invites him to a party where he meets a 20-year-old model, Pauline West (Mary Peach), and begins a close relationship that ultimately becomes too involving for the much younger woman to handle. Spurned by his own Party, given a vote of no-confidence by his constituency, and unsuccessful in his relationships, Byrne's downfall is pitiable, but the striking authenticity of Finch's performance makes him a person we can relate to and even sympathize with. In today's politics, however, where cynicism has become even more prevalent, a politician who puts ambition above principle would hardly warrant such attention.
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