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Look Back in Anger (1959)

Approved | | Drama | 15 September 1959 (USA)
Trailer
3:07 | Trailer
A disillusioned, angry university graduate comes to terms with his grudge against middle-class life and values.

Director:

Tony Richardson

Writers:

John Osborne (play), Nigel Kneale (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 1 win & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Richard Burton ... Jimmy Porter
Claire Bloom ... Helena Charles
Mary Ure ... Alison Porter
Edith Evans ... Mrs. Tanner
Gary Raymond ... Cliff Lewis
Glen Byam Shaw Glen Byam Shaw ... Colonel Redfern
Phyllis Neilson-Terry Phyllis Neilson-Terry ... Mrs. Redfern
Donald Pleasence ... Hurst
Jane Eccles Jane Eccles ... Miss Drury
S.P. Kapoor S.P. Kapoor ... Kapoor
George Devine George Devine ... Doctor
Walter Hudd ... Actor
Anne Dickins Anne Dickins ... Girl A.S.M
John Dearth ... Pet Stall Man
Nigel Davenport ... 1st. Commercial Traveller
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Storyline

Jimmy Porter is a loud, obnoxious man, rude and verbally abusive to his wife, Alison. Alison comes from an upper class family that Jimmy abhors and he berates Alison for being too reserved and unfeeling. Jimmy is college educated but works with a partner, Cliff Lewis, as a street vendor operating a candy stall. Cliff lives with Jimmy and Alison and is close friends with both. When Jimmy pushes Alison while she is at the ironing board she is burned. Alison visits her doctor where it is revealed that she is pregnant. She asks him if it is too late to do something about it but the doctor immediately tells her never to mention such an idea. When Jimmy leaves for work, Alison confides to Cliff that she is pregnant. She is frightened of Jimmy's reaction to this news, and has not told him. Jimmy is visited by his childhood nanny, Mrs. Tanner, whom Jimmy loves and calls "Mom." Alison tries to tell Jimmy of the pregnancy but is frustrated when Jimmy insults her for being cool towards Mrs. ... Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

As sensational on the screen as the sensation-loaded stage smash! See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

15 September 1959 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Pasión prohibida See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

GBP250,000 (estimated)

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$7,593
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Initially Harry Saltzman was opposed to the idea of Tony Richardson directing the film version as he had never directed a film before. John Osborne insisted on Richardson as he had been responsible for the theatrical version but Saltzman's opposition led to the film's original backers, J. Arthur Rank, pulling out of the deal. Osborne of course ultimately got his way. See more »

Quotes

Helena Charles: Does he drink?
Alison Porter: He's not an alcoholic if that's what you mean.
Helena Charles: Oh, that trumpet! It's almost as if he wanted to kill someone and me in particular. I've never seen such hatred in someone's eyes before, it's horrifying... and slightly exciting.
See more »


Soundtracks

Music Hal Song
(uncredited)
Music by Tom Eastwood
Lyrics by John Osborne (uncredited)
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User Reviews

The pinnacle of the short lived British new wave
4 March 2004 | by grahamclarkeSee all my reviews

The late fifties marked the beginning of the short lived new wave in British Cinema. This was largely influenced by the burgeoning of the American cinema and stage as opposed to the staid outdated state of affairs in British culture. In that brief period a number of films were made which broke new ground in an effort to portray the often harsh reality of life for millions of Britons. Tony Richardson was perhaps the most prominent exponent of the kitchen sink/angry young man genre and "Look Back in Anger" one of his finest works.

Time has not been kind to a lot of the films which at the time may have seemed important. "Look Back in Anger" is one of the few which have retained its power, due to John Osborne's writing, Richardson's direction and outstanding performances by all.

It must have been an exciting time with the emergence of some exceptional young actors, (Alan Bates, Albert Finney, Tom Courtney, Rita Tushingham, Vanessa Redgrave, to name but a few) as well as a new generation of writers and directors. But it was not long before this exciting movement petered out and British cinema would be once again dominated by largely mediocre films.

"Look Back In Anger" has an emotional rawness to it which is still extremely effective. Osborne does not shy from exposing the ruthlessness his characters are capable of. It's a ruthlessness born of frustration and pain and as such one we can comprehend if not forgive.

Richard Burton in the lead gives a virtuoso performance, but it's the kind of acting which belongs on the stage. Burton, unlike many of his theatrical peers never quite got the hang of screen acting. He's always a number of shades to big. Still, when at his best (such as in "Night of the Iguana"), it's fascinating viewing, despite the overt theatricality.

Claire Bloom who had partnered Burton often on stage, is a fine match for the fiery Burton. The lesser known Mary Ure (Osborne's wife at the time) gives a remarkably touching portrayal as the torn and suffering spouse. Gary Raymond lends much charm in the role that was created by Alan Bates on the stage. And then there's the great Edith Evans in a small role; but then you know what they say about there being no small roles, only small actors. She certainly was one of the greats.

This is classic film making and one of the high points of British cinema, which has never regained its position in the making of exciting, intelligent and important films. Sadly director Tony Richardson too, never really fulfilled the promise of his outstanding early works.

Not one to miss.


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