Richardson. Tony Richardson is the leading voice of the late 1950’s and early 1960’s Kitchen Sink Realism movement in the UK—also known as the angry young men movement or the British New Wave. What a stretch he had from 1959-1965! Richardson made four (the first four below) in this mode—sort of a combination of neorealism and like the Brando/Clift Elia Kazan movement in the early 1950’s. Jack Clayton’s Room at the Top is there, Resz’s Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, The Sporting Life by Lindsay Anderson and Kes from Loach later in the decade is part of this school.  The consistency in Richardson’s first four films makes him a definite author. Tom Jones (not made in this mode really) is a top 500 film (not many of those left as we close in on the top 200 directors of all-time)

from A Taste of Honey– setting was so important in the films in these movement– Rossellini-like

Best film: Tom Jones

  • It’s British New Wave (clearly Richardson from Look Back in Anger, Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner) taking on some of the style of the French New Wave- mainly Truffaut
  • One of the best edited films of the 1960’s- the editing is a character
  • Academy Award wins for picture, writer, director and score
  • First of 5 noms for Finney
  • Finney was one of the go-to first faces on the acting side of the British New Wave- Saturday Night and Sunday Morning– 1960—he’s also a small role in Richardson’s The Entertainer
  • It updates Henry Fielding’s for the modern generation—not quite like Sofia Coppola did with Marie Antoinette or Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet but in a similar vein
  • Opens with titles and dialogue-less like a silent film then the omniscient voice-over with a sense of humor winking at the audience saying things like “we’ll leave such scenes (sex scene) for decency and decorum”
  • Film debut for David Warner
  • Prestige period picture/adaptation-but we have comic organ cues for laughing, reflexivity talking to the camera
  • Great comic actors like Peter Bull and Hugh Griffith
  • Keystone cops-like broad comedy—fast-motion in one sequence,
  • Wipe editing, freeze frame, it’s wild—the narrative movies and the transitions are genius—Iris in later, very- Truffaut Shoot the Piano Player
  • It’s editing is far superior to any of the five films nominated in that category in 1963
  • Richardson directs the hell out this thing
  • Hugh Griffith was apparently a handful on set- always drunk—I can only say that his performance is excellent- it matches the style of the editing and pace with perfection
  • Finney is superb- a bounder—adventurer and folk hero—grinning in most shots
  • The freeze frame of Susanna York looking at the camera—long silent sequence after
  • The eating chicken foreplay scene is great
  • Lines like “civilization my trunk” by Griffith at a costume part wearing an elephant costume
  • Freeze-frame jump cutting as two eavesdrop on a door
  • Freeze frame final shot—years before Butch Cassidy (1969), though four years after The 400 Blows
  • MS
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Finney here in Tom Jones– he was one of the go-to first faces on the acting side of the British New Wave- Saturday Night and Sunday Morning– 1960—he’s also a small role in Richardson’s The Entertainer

total archiveable films: 6

top 100 films:  0

Tom Courtenay in Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner is one of the seminal films and performances in the angry young men British film movement

top 500 films:  1 (Tom Jones)

top 100 films of the decade:   1 (Tom Jones)

most overrated: Nothing here for Richardson. He only has one top 1000 film on the TSPDT consensus list and it is Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner at #995—a good spot for that film.

most underrated :  A Couple of candidates here. Tom Jones sits at a putrid #1506 on the TSPDT and I’m more than 1000 slots higher. It is a hyper-stylized triumpth—brilliant editing—no way there are 1500 films better—that’s wrong. The Entertainer isn’t in the TSPDT top 2000 and that’s wrong, too.

gem I want to spotlight : The Entertainer

  • It’s the second film from Richardson after his debut the year prior Look Back in Anger  (1959), part of the sort of British New Wave but better known as like the angry British films from this era from him and Lindsay Anderson
  • Full of cruel life and realism
  • Olivier is absolutely brilliant here- he’s usually so regal in his performances but he’s a complete scoundrel or as someone mentions “a bit of a bastard”- shows Olivier’s range
  • Early performances from Finney and Alan Bates and Livesey from colonel blimp is quite good as well
  • Really haunting rendition of “why should I care?” song – a depressing film
  • Olivier’s soliloquy about being “dead behind the eyes” is probably enough alone to put it in the back half of a normal year’s top 10
  • Highly Recommend
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rawness in some of the themes– Laurence Olivier’s character having an affair with a woman wearing nothing but a bra was unthinkable five years prior

stylistic innovations/traits:

  • came out firing- Look Back in Anger a strong debut in 1959
  • black and white films (again the first four below), realism, rawness, anger, depressing, hitting sensitive issues with working class British characters (that really weren’t allowed in films prior)—sweaty performances from great actors
  • a part of the realism movement- natural lighting, location shooting, authentic performances and accents
  • certainly had an influence of Loach, Mike Leigh for sure, Terence Davies
  • you have to mention the editing- Tom Jones is one of the best edited films (avant-garde, playful, bold) of the 1960’s which puts it up there all-time

top 10

  1. Tom Jones
  2. The Entertainer
  3. A The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner
  4. A Taste of Honey
  5. Look Back in Anger
  6. The Loved One
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from A Taste of Honey — great use of natural lighting

By year and grades

1959- Look Back in Anger R
1960- The Entertainer HR
1961- A Taste of Honey
1962- The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner R/HR
1963- Tom Jones MS
1965- The Loved One

*MP is Masterpiece- top 1-3 quality of the year film

MS is Must-see- top 5-6 quality of the year film

HR is Highly Recommend- top 10 quality of the year film

R is Recommend- outside the top 10 of the year quality film but still in the archives