XL Popcorn – Saturday Night and Sunday Morning

List Item: Watch all of the “1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die”
Progress: 730/1007Title: Saturday Night and Sunday Morning
Director: Karel Reisz
Year: 1960
Country: UK

The hub is away for the weekend, which of course means a lot of time for me to watch movie, catch up on anime and eat chicken. As such, I haven’t done one of my list albums for fear of extending the lead even further. The first film of this weekends mini-filmfest is the 1960 kitchen sink drama Saturday Night and Sunday Morning. 

I think that this is the first time in a long while that I have dipped into a very specific era of British cinema and watched an exemplar film – the last time possibly being The Man in Grey as an example of the Gainsborough melodrama. With Saturday Night and Sunday Morning we are looking at the British New Wave cinema, which is grittier and less ennui-filled than the French counterpart.

In this we meet Arthur (the stereotypical ‘angry young man’) who rails against the system and would rather spend his money on drinking and gambling rather than settle down. He carries on an affair with a married woman (getting her pregnant and having conversations about abortion in an era where they were still illegal) whilst generally acting out and being a bit of a laddish pain in the neck.

It’s a great role for a young Albert Finney (so much better than Tom Jones… ugh) and it’s interesting to see a character like this as the British equivalent of the teenage rebels from the likes of Rebel Without A Cause and Splendor in the Grass – except this guy is likely meant to be in his early-to-mid twenties. What he’s rebelling against isn’t parents or necessarily expectations, but the future that lies ahead of him because of a lack of social mobility and ambition.

Films like this were the beginnings of British cinema using their platform to tell stories that depicted life as it was, rather than it being overly produced or funny. It’s the point that grittiness started to become popular and issues like abortion and poor social mobility were getting on the public radar – the latter being something that we’re still a long way from solving. It’s also interesting to think how real life grit from films like this would later go on to be incorporated into other genres and give us films like Get Carter and possibly even Peeping Tom. Goes to show how cinema really is one big, rich tapestry.


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