THIS SPORTING LIFE 22.02.19 (12)
NOTE: THIS AND ALL FUTURE SCREENINGS WILL BE AT THE BEACON ARTS VILLAGE, THE OLD TOWN HALL, ONE, THE QUADRANT, HOYLAKE CH47 2EE
DOORS OPEN 6.30pm. BAR AND FOOD AVAILABLE FROM 6.30 – 11.30 pm. FILM STARTS 7.30pm.
Directed by: Lindsay Anderson
Richard Harris (Frank Machin)
Rachel Roberts (Margaret Hammond)
Alan Badel (Gerald Weaver)
William Hartnell (“Dad” Johnson)
Colin Blakely (Maurice Braithwaite)
Jack Watson (Len Miller)
Arthur Lowe (Charles Slomer)
Frank Machin (Harris) is a bitter young coal miner in Wakefield. Following a vicious fight in a nightclub with the captain of the local rugby league club, he is recruited by the team’s manager. In trials, he impresses the team’s owner, Gerald Weaver (Badel), with the spirit and brutality of his playing. He is signed to the top team as a loose forward and impresses with his aggressive play, often punching or elbowing opponents, a convenient outlet for his frustration and violent tendencies.
At home, his recently widowed landlady Margaret (Roberts) is a mother of two young children, but lost her husband in an accident at Weaver’s engineering firm, for which she received no compensation, as the death was ruled a suicide. Frank eventually develops a mutually destructive sexual relationship with Margaret, leading eventually to catastrophic consequences.
This Sporting Life was Anderson’s first feature film, although he had won an Oscar for his short documentary, Thursday’s Children (1954). The project had first been discussed by The Rank Organisation as a possible project for renowned director Karel Reisz who, reluctant to direct another film with a similar setting and theme to his earlier kitchen sink drama Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (1960), suggested that Lindsay Anderson direct it with himself serving as producer.
Both Harris and Roberts deliver powerhouse performances, with Anderson going on to become one of Britain’s most highly respected, successful and prolific film directors.
134 minutes. Cert 12.