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This Sporting Life (1963)

Not Rated | | Drama, Sport | 22 May 1963 (France)
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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.

Director:

Lindsay Anderson

Writers:

David Storey (based on the novel by), David Storey (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:
Richard Harris ... Frank Machin
Rachel Roberts ... Mrs. Margaret Hammond
Alan Badel ... Gerald Weaver
William Hartnell ... 'Dad' Johnson
Colin Blakely ... Maurice Braithwaite
Vanda Godsell ... Mrs. Anne Weaver
Anne Cunningham Anne Cunningham ... Judith
Jack Watson ... Len Miller
Arthur Lowe ... Charles Slomer
Harry Markham Harry Markham ... Wade
George Sewell ... Jeff
Leonard Rossiter ... Phillips, Sports writer
Katherine Parr Katherine Parr ... Mrs. Farrer
Bernadette Benson Bernadette Benson ... Lynda Hammond
Andrew Nolan 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

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

22 May 1963 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Lockender Lorbeer See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

Glenda Jackson appears briefly in the group singing round the piano at the Christmas party. See more »

Goofs

The sash window in Mrs Hammond's living room, as seen from the inside (presumably a studio set), has been fitted back-to-front and upside-down. The curved "horns" (moulded wood) are at the top of the lower, inside (sliding) pane, when they should be at the bottom of the upper, outside (fixed) pane. See more »

Quotes

Frank Machin: [to scantily clad nightclub singer] Eh love, show us your personality!
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Soundtracks

For He's A Jolly Good Fellow
Sung by the guests at the Christmas party
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User Reviews

 
Insolently sublime masterpiece
4 September 2006 | by jharnaSee all my reviews

This title mostly stays obscurely distant to the wider audience, which is utterly sad, almost as the movie itself. "This sporting life" marks era of the British New Wave, but it is somehow off the French mellow tracks. Frank Machin is rude and robust, just like the circumstances of time and place. After swift uplift of cinematic themes, which almost totally set WWII into background, 1960ies made Brits turn the mirror inwards. Medium of film was open for investigating and reflecting what hides in one's inner and where could it lead. In circle, surely, as well-tried French recipe of the era already settled the never-ending mental pattern.

This is basically a love story, a tale of two fairly different people joined in their solitude. They glide through scenery of urban and mental squalor, wonderfully photographed by Denys N. Coop. Shades of the mind are so aptly blended with interiors and every feeling convincingly underlined by many (but never one too many) close-ups. By my account, the only moment which was superfluous happened in the fancy restaurant: Frank taking Margaret and her new fur-coat to dinner to a place that was never intended for them. Frank's rawness in the situation was a bit over the top, movie could have well done without it, or at least with having it toned down.

Nevertheless, poetry is inevitable. Lindsay Anderson managed to draw tenuity out of time, places and persons who struggled against each other. Finale offered the only possible solution: For those who stayed – "after all…tomorrow is another day."


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