Monday Movies ~ 21/09/2020

Phil went really retro this week, with a black and white film, Saturday Night And Sunday Morning (1960). Known as a ‘kitchen-sink drama’ it was directed by Karel Reisz based on a novel by Alan Sillitoe who also wrote the screenplay. It starred Albert Finney who played Arthur Seaton.

Arthur is a machinist in the Raleigh bicycle factory in Nottingham. He’s feisty and rebellious, and determined not to be tied down to a boring domesticated life like those of his parents and colleagues. His weekends involve drinking and partying and having a blast, and fishing with his best mate Bert (Norman Rossington). He is having an affair with Brenda, (Rachel Roberts) who is married to one of his older colleagues Jack, (Bryan Pringle) but then meets and starts a relationship with the beautiful and classy Doreen (Shirley-Ann Field) who is nearer his age than Brenda.

Doreen however is not up for sex before marriage, so Arthur continues the affair with Brenda, until she becomes pregnant by him. Arthur offers to help raise the child or pay for a termination, and Brenda wants the latter. He takes her to see his Aunt Ada (Hylda Baker) who sits her in a hot bath for 3 hours and has her drink a bottle of gin. That doesn’t work so he pays £40 for a doctor to do it, but Brenda changes her mind and decides to go through with keeping the baby.

Arthur & Bert, Doreen and a lass who’s name escapes me but is a friend of Doreen’s, go to the local fair, where Brenda, Jack and Jack’s two Army brothers are also indulging in some fun. Arthur and Brenda end up on a merrygoround together but are spotted by Jack and his brothers, the upshot being they catch Arthur and give him a good beating.

Once he’s recovered and returned to work, Jack warns him off seeing Brenda again, so Arthur decides to marry Doreen. The movie ends with them on a hillside looking down at a building site where new homes are being made, and talking about the prospect of buying one. Arthur doesn’t look all that impressed.

It was strange to see the Industrial 1960 town, I grew up in Huddersfield during that decade, which had mills and factories just like in the movie, but wasn’t really aware of that as we lived out on the edge, where the countryside started. But the people rang very true in their clothes and manners. It was filmed mostly in Nottingham, with London standing in here and there. The acting was tight and Albert Finney made a great rebellious lead but everyone in this brought their A game. It wasn’t grim in spite of the grim nature of some of it’s themes, with plenty of humour shot throughout. The British Film Institute have it at 14th in their top 100 of British films, and it deserves that high ranking.

This movie was part of the New Wave of British cinema, for the first time portraying the working class in a serious manner, and dealing with issues like sex, adultery and abortion. It was amongst the first of the kitchen-sink dramas, inspired by the 1956 play Look Back in Anger.

Them wer’t days 😊

Fraggle rating : Worth a watch for gritty realism and interesting nostalgia.

SO my choice for a fun movie was The Gentlemen (2019) directed, produced and written by Guy Ritchie. Billed as an action comedy and set in London,it is the story of an American guy, Mickey Pearson (Matthew McConaughy) who came over to England to study at Oxford University, but found he did better at selling weed to the students and ended up with a multi-million pound cannabis business. At the beginning of the movie he wants to sell up and retire, and this sets off a chain of incidents that seek to devalue his business and undermine him. No spoilers as this is reasonably new. The cast is great, as well as McConaughy in fine form, there is Hugh Grant playing Fletcher, a cockney investigative reporter, he did it so well, channeling Ray Winston’s way of talking. Charlie Hunman plays Mickey’s right hand man, cool as a cucumber and Michelle Dockery plays Rosalind Pearson, Mickey’s smart and feisty wife who runs a female staffed car repair shop. Other notable characters are Jeremy Strong as Matthew Berger who wants to buy Mickey’s business, Eddy Marsan as Big Dave, the loudmouth, uncouth newspaper editor who hires Fletcher to investigate Pearson, and Colin Farrell as Coach, who runs a boxing club, he outdid himself in this movie. Added to that there are Russian mobsters, Chinese gangsters and Lords and Ladies all in the mix.

Martin Scorcese may have the monopoly on Italian mobsters in the USA movies, but if you’re going to do a gangster movie in the UK, Ritchie is your go to guy. With sharp, pacy direction, a pithy script that had us laughing out loud more than once and some trademark Ritchie filming techniques you can’t help having a good time watching this one. There’s a bit of shooting and fighting in it but even that’s done in a non-serious manner.

Critics mostly loved it, though some of them can’t help comparing it to Lock, Stock & Two smoking Barrels unfavourably. But it isn’t that movie and doesn’t pretend to be, I actually liked it more, it was funnier. It did very well at the box office too.

Fraggle rating : Good fun & Bloody Brilliant.

19 thoughts on “Monday Movies ~ 21/09/2020

  1. Both fantastic movies, and I say that as a long terms Guy Ritchie denier. The Gentleman was unexpectedly fun, and Finney is immense in Saturday Night; amazing to thing people used to drink like that….sounds like you had a good weekend!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Where to start!
    Loved your critique of the first film, I haven’t seen it, but I studied kitchen sink dramas at uni and you really brought it all back. Look Back in Anger was a revelation for me, as was a Taste of Honey. It sounds so watchable and I feel v.strongly that you should be reviewing flicks for the mass public because you are so effing good at it.
    I JUST watched The Gentlemen yesterday! Brilliant and I so agree with you about it. And I was also thinking all the way through… Scorsese does the gangster thing, I think he slightly, ever so slightly missed the mark with the Irishman but Guy Ritchie does this genre to PERFECTIOOOOOON. He is right up my street. The script was just amazing clever, hilarious, the direction outstanding and clearly for his fans you know? I liked also that the costume and settings were a little timeless, you almost couldn’t pinpoint when it was set which I found ingenious loved that and I was thinking all the way through…go on Hugh Grant! What a role he played. He outdid himself, even Ray would be proud. I also thought that Colin Farrell smashed it to bits in this, so so good.
    I think I’m your biggest fan , mate

    All the love


  3. What a fine pair you saw this weekend. I have only seen one kitchen-sink drama–it’s a genre I find interesting, so I’ll give it a go. I heard the Gentlemen was pretty good. I like the cast. Thanks for reminding me to put in the queue to watch.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh yes! The Gentlemen! So much fun and a great reminder of why Guy Ritchie needs to NOT be doing all these generic, high-budget CGI spectacles.

    McConaughey and the whole cast was great, but for me it didn’t get any better than Hugh Grant — that was such a different kind of role for him and he knocked it out of the park. Great Monday Movie pick!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’ve seen bits of Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, but I’ve never watched it all the way through. I don’t know that I’d want to watch it even for the nostalgia value, not that I’m in the least nostalgic for the 60s.

    Liked by 1 person

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