Thursday, May 24, 2012

A Kind of Loving

Sellaista rakkautta / Att älska så. GB © 1962 Anglo-Amalgamated. PC also: Vic Films, Waterhall. P: Joseph Janni. D: John Schlesinger. SC: Willis Hall, Keith Waterhouse – based on the novel by Stan Barstow (1960). DP: Denys Coop. AD: Ray Simm. Cost: Laura Nightingale. Makeup: Robert Lawrence. M: Ron Gainer. ED: Roger Cherrill. S: Don Sharpe. Loc: Preston, Blackburn, Bolton, Salford, Manchester, Radcliffe and St Anne's-on-sea in the north-west of England. C: Alan Bates (Vic), June Ritchie (Ingrid), Thore Hird (Mrs. Rothwell), Bert Palmer (Mr. Brown), Gwen Nelson (Mrs. Brown), Malcom Patton (Jim Brown), Pat Keen (Christine), David Mahlowe (David), Jack Smethurst (Conwoy), James Bolam (Jeff), Michael Deacon (Les), John Ronane, David Cook (draughtsmen), Norman Heyes (Laisterdyke), Leonard Rossiter (Whymper), Fred Ferris (Althorpe), Patsy Rowlands (Dorothy), Annette Robertson (Pheobe), Ruth Porcher (Mrs. Parker), Harry Markham (railroad worker), Peter Madden (registrar), Katherine Staff (Mrs. Oliphant), Edna Ridgway (pub pianist), Graham Rigby (pub politician), Bud Ralston (pub comic), Bryan Mosley, Joe Gladwin (bus drivers), Jerry Desmonde (tv compère), Reginald Green (tv contestant), Douglas Livingstone (window cleaner). Helsinki premiere: 11.1.1963, distributor: Parvisfilmi Oy – VET 63745 – K16 – 3135 m / 112 min. A vintage print with Finnish / Swedish subtitles (quite selective) by Liisa Ahti viewed at Cinema Orion, Helsinki (50 Years Ago), 24 May 2012.

Revisited after 41 years John Schlesinger's first feature film. It is much better than I remembered and expected. It is the oldest story in the world: girl gets pregnant, boy does the right thing and they marry although they may be too young to decide. The boy and the mother-in-law cannot stand each other, but there is a new start when the young couple makes an attempt to live on their own.

The performances by Alan Bates and June Ritchie are fine and sensitive, and the supporting cast is excellent. The film is full of life, and there is a sense of constant excitement in the exploration of everyday life in the spirit of the angry young men, although Vic is not very angry at all. Memorable sequences include: the sister's happy church wedding which opens the picture, the encounter at the crowded bus, the first date at the cinema, the observations of the Manchester factory where Vic and Ingrid work (as a draughtsman and as a typist), and scenes at the cantina, the football match, the pharmacy where Vic is too shy to buy preservatives, the dancing hall, the formal magistrate wedding of Vic and Ingrid, the brass band concert, the hospital, Vic's drunken spree at the pubs, the train station. There is a documentary pleasure and passion of observing contemporary life and society in the movie. The protagonists Vic and Ingrid emerge from their richly detailed social milieu as individuals who react to the varying circumstances in personal ways.

The cinematography by Denys Coop is wonderful and special. Based on realism, the visual texture is rich, the variety of field sizes is great from long shots to close-ups (the camerawork also expressive of the theme of the young individuals finding their place in the society), and the challenges of the ubiquitous smoke and fog are bravely met. This is an industrial world with steam trains, factories and smokestacks. From the fog and the grayness emerges a constantly interesting visual world.

The 50 year old print has been heavily used but it is quite intact and conveys impressively the original visual quality of the cinematography.

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