Page 5, 28th October 1960

28th October 1960
Page 5
Page 5, 28th October 1960 — Sordid, sordid all the way . .
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Locations: Nottingham, London, Venice

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Sordid, sordid all the way . .

SATURDAY NIGHT AND SUNDAY MORNING Certificate X: Warners Director: Karel Reisz

By GRACE CONWAY

WE'RE back in the industrial Midlands (Nottingham?) which is photographed without mercy, whose inhabitants are depicted also without mercy, and where it is sordid, sordid all the way. 1 can't believe that any city or any set of people arc as unpleasant. which makes it all the more puzzling when I hear that, compared with Alan Sillitoe's novel, the film is all gladness and light.

The locale is a machine factory and the "hero" is one Arthur (played by England's latest acting hope—Albert Finney). Arthur is a braggart, a boozer and a lecher, even a bit of a sadist. His idea of a joke is to put a dead rat on a middle-aged woman worker's table and heat her scream, or pepper an old woman with an air gun.

While he takes his fat wages packet every week, he never stops grumbling at the work, his bosses, everything. If he hates it all, one feels, why the hades doesn't he get out? But of course he doesn't. He is a totally unattractive human being without. so far as I can sec, a shred of decent feeling.

Is this what the welfare state has produced? Mental and spiritual bankrupts? Any novel or film fails where there is not one decent RICHARD BOONE (left) and LAURENCEAtilaroEY in "The

human being by which to measure the lost souls.

Arthur. having got the wife of one of his workmates with child, sets about trying to help her get rid of it. In a savage scene (mercifully shot at a distance) he is beaten almost to a pulp by two of the husband's soldier pals. He then seduces a girl (Shirley Anne Field) although she has managed to get ea promise of marriage from him. Good luck to her-1 wish her joy! As he film occasionally showed

us shots of the city under its murky sky, I couldn't help thinking of the folly Of generalisations of showing only the seamy side. There's not a decent building or an attractive human being anywhere. If I were a citizen of Nottingham I wouldn't like this at all —letting us see only the dank, narrow, greasy streets, the mean houses, the spiteful folk, the warped sense of humour.

Having said so much about plot and setting, it must be admitted that the casting is good, the locale well defined; that Albert Finney may turn out to be Britain's answer to Marlon Brando; that Rachel Roberts, as the erring wife, shows us all too well a woman disillusioned and near despairing. All the supporting roles are ably sustained.

What is so wrong about this sort of fiction is that the authors seem to gloat over evil. The danger is to the impressionable and not very well educated young who will regard the revolting Arthur as a hero.

THE ALANIO Certificate U: Astoria Director: John Wayne

THREE hours and a quarter is I required before the Battle of the Alamo is decided. In Todd

AO, that is, on the curved screen, and in colour, it is at all times an eyeful -and an earful, tuo, when the stereophonic apparatus gets busy registering the thunder of hooves or when the outsize orchestra takes over.

It's no good pretending we are all experts on American history, so let me remind you that this battle was fought by the Texans against the Mexican president, General Antonio Lopez de Santa Ana in the year 1836. In charge of a small Travis left to

defend this particular section is is

Colonel (Lawrence Harvey). The general is a bit of a martinet and he has a tough time trying to discipline a scratch lot of Tennessee fighting men under Davy Crockett (John Wayne) and an even scratchier lot under Colonel Bowie (Richard Widmark) who don't like what they call the Colonel's "prissy ways".

A, film of this sort stands or falls by its spectacle—and "The Alamo" stands very firmly. William Clothier's photography is never less than masterly; the battle scenes—and the last one is long indeed — are magnificent. But oh, with so long a script, why did John Wayne, responsible for the whole production, have to let in those sentimental, mawkish moments, like strong men wiping their 'eyes while an obviously selfconscious little girl gets sung to sleep on the eye of battle? And why does Richard Widmark have to get a letter telling him that his wife is dead? It's his turn to look self-conscious—and he does.

One eve of battle sequence is very good, i thought. The men know they will probably die the next day and they discuss heaven,ell, and purgatory. Some believe. some don t. But it is the sort of thing that could happen—except in Mr. Sillitoe's Nottingham.

With Wayne and Widmarkwho can act this type of thing with their eyes shut—one expects and gets good performances. All Laurence Harvey has to do is to look stern and talk in a clipped accent—and that he does quite effectively.

JUNGLE CAT

Certificate U: Studio One Director: James Algar

WALT DISNEY Productions at the top of their form in a fascinating exploration of the Amazonian jungle with special reference to that beautiful creature—the jaguar. The film took two years to shoot, and, although it runs only just over an hour, the cutting and the welding together have been done with consummate skill. The commentary is never out of balance; there is comedy in plentiful supply as we watch the crocs and the boa-constrictors and the "trapeze" monkeys being outwitted and teased. Mother Jaguar often looks as worried as any suburban housewife as she tries to wheel her offspring into line. Altogether an entrancing film.

THE E.C.Q.

IS OUT AGAIN

AN 80-page double numcr of the

"Eastern Churches Quarterly", which has not appeared since the death last year of Dom Bede Winslow, 0.S.B., its founder and editor, is at the printers and will shortly be on sale at the same price of 39. 6d.

It is being edited by Dom Edmund Jones. 0.S.B., superior of Cockfosters Priory, north London, assisted by Dom Charles Napier, 0.S.B., also of Cockfosters.

Dom Charles told the Comm HERALD that the demand for the "Quarterly" is urgent now that the date for the General Council draws near, particularly so in the United States. "Early next year we shall have a special commemorative number for the late Done Bede, to be edited by Professor A. H. Armstrong of Liverpool University", he added. He hopes the circulation (now 500) will increase as the result of the growing interest in eastern Church matters.

Dom Charles, recently ordained, is a convert, He was born in London 31 years ago.

An Armenian consecration in St. Mark's

THE Abbot General of one of the smallest religious orders in the Church — it has only 62 members — will be consecrated titular Archbishop of Chersonesus in Zechia on Sunday in St. Mark's Cathedral, Venice.

He is Abbot Scrapion Uluhogian of the Mechitarist convent of San Lazearo, Venice, and he will be consecrated by Cardinal Agagianian, Patriarch of Cilicia of the Armenians. Others present will include Cardinal Urbani. Patriarch of Venice. four Armenian bishops, the auxiliary bishop of Venice, and the cathedral chapter. This will be the first consecration of an Armenian-rite bishop that Venice has seen. and it will further cement the links between the Mechitarists and the city, first formed in 1715 when the Doge gave the exiled Armenians the small island that is now their mother house.




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