Sunday, June 7, 2009

SATURDAY NIGHT AND SUNDAY MORNING (Karel Reisz, 1960, UK) Arthur Seaton fears becoming the living dead, mummified remains of a patriarchal hierarchy whose nights are spent hypnotized by the TV; a dank destiny reflected in the cracked mirror of his parent’s flat. Arthur is an angry young man, rebellious and zealous, living his life in the moment with little saving for the future: a fate he dreads like the incessant metal screams of machinery that overwhelms human dignity. Stuck in a machine shop with limited prospects, he finds pleasure with a married woman and a lovely young lady, enjoying life in every moment of action. But he finds himself becoming hooked, like a fish taking the bait, as his working-class environment becomes an inescapable prison. Director Karel Reisz’s gritty drama is filmed on location in the clanging factories and cobblestone streets, in the smoking pubs and dingy carnivals of real life. Cinematographer Freddie Francis (THE INNOCENTS & THE ELEPHANT MAN) films in gorgeous deep focus black and white, emphasizing the characters while the conformity of London’s housing tracts and belching smokestacks are visually present in the backgrounds. This subliminal detail makes Arthur a part of his environment, a non-conformist whose petty antics are only a temporary reprieve from this larger panorama, which shall consume him…and mold him into that which he most despises. Albert Finney’s excellent performance as the young misfit is both violent and affectionate: he imbues Arthur with compassion and intelligence while careening towards subjugation. The slice-of-life narrative eschews plot like voyeurs into Arthur’s private life: though there are events that he must confront, the film isn’t propelled towards any final solution. Eventually, Arthur is hooked on his new girl Doreen and he sees himself fading away, though he swears never to stop throwing stones. Unfortunately, we know that another vow will replace this independent oath. (B+)

2 comments:

moses said...

WoW!! nice story.....

Alex DeLarge said...

Two Albert Finney films in a row by coincidence!