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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)
Reviews
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. Hammond
Alan Badel ... Weaver
William Hartnell ... Johnson
Colin Blakely ... Maurice Braithwaite
Vanda Godsell ... Mrs. Weaver
Anne Cunningham Anne Cunningham ... Judith
Jack Watson ... Len Miller
Arthur Lowe ... Slomer
Harry Markham Harry Markham ... Wade
George Sewell ... Jeff
Leonard Rossiter ... Phillips
Katherine Parr Katherine Parr ... Mrs. Farrer (as Katharine Parr)
Bernadette Benson Bernadette Benson ... Lynda
Andrew Nolan Andrew Nolan ... Ian
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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

In a scene in a nightclub, a young woman sings the Helen Shapiro hit "Walking Back to Happiness". She was twenty-one-year-old mill-girl, Kim Leslie, from Pudsey. Producer Karel Reisz needed a Yorkshire woman for a small singing part in the film, and advertised in the local papers. Within a few hours of the adverts appearing, two hundred women had applied, from which, a shortlist of four was selected. When these four women performed at the Wakefield Trinity rugby ground, the loudness of the crowd's applause was measured and Kim Leslie's performance was chosen. 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

Phillips, Sports writer: It's only a game, old sport. It's all a game.
See more »


Soundtracks

Walking Back to Happiness
(uncredited)
Written by John Schroeder and Mike Hawker
Performed by Kim Leslie
Backed by Tommy Fisher and the Mis-Fits
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User Reviews

 
Brilliant, Memorable; Yet ....
2 March 2006 | by HandlinghandelSee all my reviews

I saw this at a theater years ago. It had sunk into what appears to be obscurity -- highly undeservedly. Tonight I saw it on the small screen. And as powerful and, oddly, as shockingly intimate as it is, it doesn't work as well this way.

Why? The reason is the structure. The straightforward scenes are searing.. But there are hallucinations that have Richard Harris now in one situation, then in another, then lying back in the dentist's chair. Call me a Philistine but on a 20-inch screen this Resnais-like "Is it or isn't it?" is hard to follow.

That said, it is a beautiful movie overall. The lead performances have rarely been equaled. Richard Harris, as a headstrong rugby player, is convincing 100%. Rachel Roberts plays the rather dour, confused and grieving widow from whom he lets a room and whom he loves. She was not conventionally beautiful but she had extraordinary screen presence. Their every scene together is chilling and poignant.

The structure is there. The movie is finished and could never be properly well made. It is a sort of angry young man meets French New Wave. Anyone reading this who might be put off by my confession about finding it a bit rough to follow on a TV screen: Please do not be put off. This is a very serious, insightful movie, well performed all around. And you are unlikely to see Harris better in anything else and, sadly, unlikely to see Ms. Roberts in much else at all.


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