Saturday Night and Sunday Morning

"Very Good"

Saturday Night and Sunday Morning Review


Serious film buffs are familiar with Britain's so-called "kitchen-sink" dramas, unpleasant little slices of lower-class life shot quickly and on small budgets in the 1950s and '60s. Often starring young actors who would go on to greatness, they're fascinating glimpses into the sooty and generally unpleasant world of post-War England, although it's hard to imagine why working-class moviegoers of the time would have enjoyed seeing their humdrum lives replicated on screen.

Case in point is Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, in which a young and virile Albert Finney stars as Arthur Seaton, a thoroughly disillusioned cynic who toils over a metal lathe in an infernal factory and waits for the weekend, when he heads out for two solid days of drinking and womanizing, hoping Monday never comes.

"I'm out for a good time. All the rest is propaganda," says Arthur. His good times include drinking sailors under the table, having an affair with Brenda (Rachel Roberts), the somewhat older wife of one of his co-workers, and simultaneously reeling in a pretty young thing named Doreen (Shirley Anne Field), who is easily wowed by a night out at the movies.

Arthur's parents, with whom he still lived, are resigned to his bad behavior, and his friends aid and abet him. The first major disruption of his routine comes when Brenda tells him she's pregnant, sending the two on a search first for quack cures such as drinking a pint of gin while soaking in a hot bathtub and then for a back alley abortion, racy stuff for a movie of this era.

It's inevitable that Arthur's cheating and double-timing will eventually catch up to him. With so many gossipy biddies hanging around in neighborhood doorways no one on his scruffy little street can get away with anything for long. Under these circumstances, it'll take some fancy footwork for Arthur to find his way to a happy resolution.

Finney gives a magnetic performance here, making Arthur both loathsome but somewhat lovable (not unlike Michael Caine's Alfie a few years later). You can see how some women would be attracted to his rage against the machine, even if it's pretty obvious he's not going to get far in life. Britain may not look much like this any more, but it's lucky for us that films like Saturday Night and Sunday Morning exist to remind us of what that world was like as war- and rationing-weary Britons struggled to shake off their industrial past and class system and look forward to a less sooty future.

Eat your greens.



Saturday Night and Sunday Morning

Facts and Figures

Run time: 89 mins

In Theaters: Monday 3rd April 1961

Distributed by: MGM Home Entertainment

Production compaines: Woodfall Film Productions

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 100%
Fresh: 11

IMDB: 7.6 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Karel Reisz

Producer:

Starring: as Arthur Seaton, Shirley Anne Field as Doreen, as Brenda, Hylda Baker as Aunt Ada, Norman Rossington as Bert, as Jack, Robert Cawdron as Robboe

Also starring:

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