Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (1961)

Albert Finney’s powerhouse performance as a Nottingham factory worker changed British screen acting, just as Karel Reisz’s incisive and authentic film changed British cinema.

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“Put working-class life on screen, bluntly and without condescension.”
Rob Mackie, The Guardian, 2009

“Don’t let the bastards grind you down. What I want is a good time. All the rest is propaganda.” When no-nonsense lathe operator Arthur Seaton (Albert Finney) voiced his world view, British cinema had never heard anything like it before. The pithy dialogue in Nottingham writer Alan Sillitoe’s adaptation of his own novel remains eminently quotable, but it’s the diligent and sympathetic direction by former documentary-maker Karel Reisz that creates an authentic atmosphere for the story of a would-be rebel forced to compromise.

Middle-class Czech émigré Reisz’s own background was worlds away, yet his first feature allows the material to speak for itself, while Finney’s performance electrified audiences and the film industry alike.

Four decades later, Nottingham provided the setting for the films of another chronicler of British working-class life, Shane Meadows, including TwentyFourSeven (1997) and This Is England (2006).

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