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No Love for Johnnie (1961) - Plot Summary Poster

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Summaries

  • 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.

  • Representing the Labour Party, popular forty-two year old politician Johnnie Burke has been reelected with a larger majority as a Member of the British Parliament, this time on the governing side. Many speculate that Prime Minister Stephens will offer him a high ranking position in government, but that is not the case. As an ambitious politician, he is privately disappointed, but initially shows public support for his leader's decisions. At home, he is in a long time loveless marriage to Alice, who leaves him, he thinks because he didn't get a post within government. Her departure highlights how much he really craves female companionship, both physically and emotionally. The first woman available to him in both capacities is his lonely but willing neighbor, Mary. But Johnnie eventually meets twenty year old model Pauline West, to who he is immediately attracted. But a married man carrying on with a woman young enough to be his daughter is not compatible with the life of a politician, especially one who is contemplating making an opportunistic move in government. Johnnie has to decide if his personal or political life is more important, especially as women enter and exit his life.

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Spoilers

The synopsis below may give away important plot points.

Synopsis

  • The film, black and white starts off up north in Earnley and a quick summary of presumably a long General Election shown, returning Johnnie Byrne(Finch) to Parliament. Even before he leaves he is sneering of those who voted for him and disappointed in his anticipation of some sort of job in Government. Goes home to his Communist Party supporting wife and generally feels sorry for himself. Then he prowls around looking for "love" or some sort of extra marital relationship and in between, plans with other MPs to challenge his own leader, the Prime Minister.

    Meets Mary (Billie Whitelaw) a nice neighbour but mishandles the situation and goes onto a girl at a party Pauline West(Mary Peach) who is way too young for him. His plans to scupper the Government gets lost in a lovers tryst with Peach but they drift apart almost immediately.

    Johnnie Byrne is "found out" by his party and his own constituents and gets a severe warning. But is in luck as there is a terminally ill Minister and Johnnie Byrne gets a job as a result. One proviso from Prime Minister (Geoffrey Keen) - no wife with such views needed. So the good chance of a reconciliation with wife (Rosalie Crutchley) is missed and she is "dumped" without a moments hesitation and Johnnie gets his love "for power".The self satisfied putting up of his feet on the bench in front of him by Peter Finch at the end was rightly thought chilling back in the day. In the Ralph Thomas' directed film, for the fictional Members of Parliament it seemed the only way to sit comfortably in those front benches. But more recently in real life, at least metaphorically, would I be correct in suggesting it seems required?

    Peter Barkworth, Stanley Holloway, the Cutty Sark area and Peter Sallis give telling cameos and Donald Pleasance is - well, Donald Pleasance. He is not stroking a pussy cat and sitting in a volcano but he may as well have been.

    Film was released 1960/1. The by then, late Wilfred Fienburgh's take (as a MP himself (1951-58) at the time the book of the same name was written - published 1958) is so cynical and so the year 2000 +

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