Saturday, August 6, 2011

357. Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (1960)

Running Time: 90 minutes
Directed By: Karel Reisz
Written By: Alan Sillitoe, from his novel
Main Cast: Albert Finney, Shirley Anne Field, Rachel Roberts, Hylda Baker, Norman Rossington


I mentioned last month how my next 100 films would feature a heavy focus on the decade of the 1960s and continuing on with that idea, we come to "Saturday Night and Sunday Morning" - a film that made me realize the greatness that is Albert Finney.

To be honest, there's really not much of a plot in "Saturday Night and Sunday Morning". The film revolves around Arthur (Finney), a factory worker living in Nottingham. When the paycheck comes in on Friday, Arthur likes to have some fun ("What I'm out for is a good time - all the rest is propaganda). Arthur gives a few pounds to his mother and father, but enjoys kicking back at his favorite bar or club and throwing back a few cold ones. Arthur also enjoys women, most notably Brenda (Roberts), a married woman who Arthur doesn't mind sneaking around with, just so he gets to enjoy her "company". In fact, Brenda is married to one of Arthur's co-workers. One day while grabbing a beer at the local pub, Arthur meets Doreen (Field), a beautiful young woman, whom he instinctively chats up and gets himself a date with. Now Arthur must juggle two women, his job and still find time to quench his thirst on the weekends. Arthur seems to have the life, but problems arise when Rachel winds up pregnant and Rachel's husband figures out that his wife is entertaining more than just him.


I didn't LOVE "Saturday Night and Sunday Morning", but I didn't despise it either. It was a prime example of a movie that just kind of lingers in the middle, neither offending or winning me over. My main gripe with this picture is the fact that not a lot happens. Now granted, I don't mind a little subtle film making, in fact I'm an advocate of it. I'd much rather watch a film that revolves around an interesting or intriguing character, than one that merely provides climax after climax. But what I'm talking about is the fact that nothing profound ever happens to Arthur. He never learns a lesson, he simply drinks and causes trouble and at the end of the film he ends up engaged to a beautiful woman. He gets a married woman pregnant, but that never becomes an issue. She simply seems to disappear, after making the decision to keep the baby. The movie simply begins and ends with our main character in the same situation (plus an engagement) as he started. I kept waiting for the shoe to fall and for something to actually happen to Arthur and it just never came.

On the other hand, we're still presented with an interesting enough character and Albert Finney does a bang up job bringing him to life. Finney was a firecracker as Arthur Seaton and I kept saying to myself, "I can't believe this is the same old man who's still making films today". That's not a knock on Finney, as I enjoyed him even before I watched this film - it's just that he looked so different and when I see an actor now and then watch something of theirs from when they were younger, it's always so hard to believe that it's the same person. Shirley Anne Field was a knockout and not a bad little actress either and with the combination of good acting and the sub-par story, it all evened out to an enjoyable enough time at the movies. I'll leave you with a question:

Are British film posters always designed horizontally, or is it just a coincidence that I've noticed several lately that are? Both "Saturday Night and Sunday Morning" and "The Servant" both had horizontally designed posters and I just got curious. Anyone know?

RATING: 6.5/10 I consulted the book to see if there was any more Albert Finney films that I could sink my teeth into and the only other one is "Traffic", of which I don't remember him having that big of a role.


Gertrud (1964 - Carl Theodor Dreyer)
Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961 - Blake Edwards)

August 5, 2011 10:03pm


  1. In theory, this is very much my sort of film, 1960's 'It's grim up North' British social realist. TAlso i was born and brought up in Derby, just a few miles from Nottingham. The thing is, I just don't take to the character. He is obnoxious, sexist, selfish, agressive etc etc, and I'm afraid that often leads to me sympathising with the authority figures he (and we are supposed to) despises and comes into conflict with.
    That said, I't's still a good film of it's time - when such attitudes were normal.
    Interestiung point on the film posters..I'd never thought about it, but when I remembered back and 'pictured' posters outside cionemas, yes, I would think of yhem as horizontal. But that would applt to American films as well, so perhaps they were produced in differing versions??
    Just to add to the thought, I've just looked round my flat - I have posters up for Manhattan and Casablanca - both are vertical.

  2. Thanks for answering my question about the film posters. I just kept noticing that the British films almost always had horizontal posters. Thanks for the comments as always Ray...Love reading your opinions.


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