Socialist Worker

Swinging rebel back in vogue

by Martin Smith
Issue No. 1824

ONCE AGAIN the 1960s are back in vogue - the music, the films and the imagery. Over the past few years a number of films from the period have been re-released - The Italian Job, Blow Up and Alfie. But there was a time in the 1960s before the swinging started. This period is brilliantly captured in a series of films made in the early 1960s labelled by critics as the 'British new wave'.

One of the best was Saturday Night and Sunday Morning. Fortunately this film has just been re-released. The film's central character is a young Nottingham toolmaker played by Albert Finney. The Finney character is a rebel, often blindly lashing out at the bleak future that he faces. His philosophy is summed up by his slogan, 'Don't let the bastards grind you down.'

In one scene his foreman accuses him of being a red. Finney turns to his workmate and tells him, 'In the last election I voted Communist.' That said, Finney's resistance is confined to grabbing what life can offer with both hands, without regard for the consequences for anybody else.

Today the film may seem dated to some, but on its release it displayed a new attitude to sex, abortion and violence, and in the process played a key role in transforming British cinema. If you get the chance go and see it.

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Sat 2 Nov 2002, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1824
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