Saturday Night and Sunday Morning is a seminal work of what would be known as the British New Wave, or “kitchen sink dramas”, featuring angry young British youths in working-class jobs living in the seedier parts of towns just getting by in their lives. It uses its grungy setting to explore social themes and what life at the time is really like for some people.
The film often feels like a non-musical West Side Story gone horribly wrong, and as weird as that image may be the film makes it work well. Arthur Seaton, our main character (played well enough by Albert Finney), is beautifully headstrong, always doing what he pleases exactly when he likes and bugger off the consequences. He never cares what others think of him, as long as it doesn’t get in the way of him having a good time. The film is essentially a character study of Arthur and how he lives his life, and perhaps a bit of history research will prove helpful as to why this was an important work in the 1960s.
Karel Reisz’s flighty yet grounded work has much in common with other films of its type, so it left me wondering why this one was chosen to represent the genre on the Must See list and not something even more seminal, like The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner. Nevertheless, this is a very in-your-face film that doesn’t advertise itself as anything other than what it is, so if it’s a journey you’re interested in, you’ll get your money’s worth all right.
Arbitrary Rating: 8/10