On Saturday night, we watched Saturday Night and Sunday Morning. Sunday morning, and I am writing a blog post about it.
It’s an awful admission for a Nottingham resident to make, but I’ve never seen it before, and I haven’t read the book either. I met Alan Sillitoe once when he was given the Freedom of the City by Nottingham City Council, and just had to sit in silence while other people lauded him. I have a copy of the book, but it’s an old paperback with tiny print, and I can’t summon up the enthusiasm to peer at it. The Kindle has already spoiled me in terms of being able to increase the font size when your eyes are tired.
I liked the film a lot. It held the interest, Albert Finney is quite pretty, and attempting to spot Nottingham locations I still know was fun. (Irritatingly, the WP entry tells us the final scene wasn’t shot in Nottingham at all – no wonder it didn’t look familiar!)
But these days it seemed quite a simple, ordinary story. It would be quite tame for Eastenders, I think.
So most of the historical interest came from the interviews also included on the DVD. I think it was a re-release from the BFI – I’ve wanted to see this for ages, and it was only recently re-released and available from Lovefilm.
Firstly, an audio-only interview with Albert Finney from 22 years after the 1960 release of the film. Amazing shock to hear him talk in the most plummy tones imaginable, after holding down a realistic northern accent all the way through the film. (Although I did a) find myself thinking often it was a bit TOO northern an accent for Nottingham and b) often wonder if I was hearing Paul Holmes…) The film was X-rated when it came out (it’s PG now!). There was a fab bit about the “sex scene.” There is no sex scene! There is a scene where two characters wake up in bed the following morning, and there was some debate about whether this would pass the censors as there was no obligatory “one foot on the floor” as needed for the Code. Further debate on whether Arthur Seaton was allowed to wake up shirtless. That scene now forms the poster image for the BFI re-release, as seen on IMDB.
The interview with Shirley Anne Field, who played dazzlingly pretty Doreen, was as interesting, but was actually filmed, a little on the soft focus side. She made the point that this film was the first to realistically portray working class life; the first to include working class accents that weren’t embarrassing mockney ripoffs; and the first to talk about abortion in any way shape or form.
Amazing how life has changed since.