I saw this, the first production and the 1989 films. Claire Bloom is excellent as Allison's no-nonsense friend Helena who despite her better judgement falls prey to the indescribable spell that Jimmy casts on women who should know better. My favorite is Branagh, but some of my friends and many of my students liked McDowell. He is instinctively suspicious of any form of authority and of the establishment. Things work out quite well in the end; they seem to each learn something valuable but much of the dialogue is stinted and unconvincing. Jimmy is visited by hischildhood nanny Mrs. Alison herself is from the wealthy upper middle classes her father is a retired Indian Army officer and her family resent her marriage to Jimmy.
Though like Marlon Brando, Richard Burton should have been way too old to portray a rebellious youth, he certainly overcomes it with a bravura performance. From the John Osborne play. Alison comes from an upper class family that Jimmy abhors and he berates Alison for being too reserved and unfeeling. He does not, however, himself really subscribe to any alternative system of values such as Communism or Socialism. Porter is, like most of us I suspect, too willing to see his own imagined virtues and the weaknesses of others. 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. Jimmy is visited by his childhood nanny, Mrs.
I watched this film while studying the play for a class I was teaching. The other reviews would have had me believe it was Oscar-worthy. Its plot is conventional enough. Those who know the play from the theatre, therefore, will find the film version very truncated. Jimmy Porter is a loud, obnoxious man, rude and verbally abusive to his wife, Alison. When Jimmy pushes Alison while she is at the ironing board she is burned. Jimmy is college educated but works with a partner, Cliff Lewis, as a street vendor operating a candy stall.
He and Alison, with Cliff as a lodger, live in a dingy bed-sit in a large Midlands town. Osborne's play can be seen as a deliberate reaction against those values. Surrounded by characters that either incomprehensibly find him a lovable lad Gary Raymond, Edith Evans or serve as doormats Mary Ure, Claire Bloom , Burton's character is given free rein to act like a colicky brat for most of the film without ever giving us much of a clue as to the root of his dissatisfaction. His father was a veteran of the Spanish Civil War. Also look for Donald Pleasance in an early role as an officious inspector at the market, the kind of bureaucrat you love to hate. Characters, such as Mrs Tanner, who are only referred to in the play actually appear in person in the film.
Mary Ure repeated her role from both the Drury Lane and Broadway productions and she and Burton are joined by a good ensemble with Claire Bloom, Edith Evans, Gary Raymond in the main feature parts. What was shocking about the play was its social setting and the attitudes displayed by the characters, especially Jimmy. At times, Richard Burton and Mary Ure come close to capturing the impact of Osborne's play, but it is only at times. When Jimmyleaves for work Alison confides to Cliff that she is pregnant. He is too self-centred and doesn't enquire as to his wife's thoughts and feelings; he is too busy describing his own state. Alison visits her doctor where it isrevealed that she is pregnant.
At 115 minutes the film is already shorter than the normal running-time of a stage production of this play, and the insertion of these extra scenes meant that even more of the original text had to be sacrificed. All actors and actresses do a good job with the material provided. Unknown to Jimmy, Alison is pregnant at the time, and he starts a relationship with her best friend Helena, an actress. At other times that impact seems weakened. Class and station are quite a bit more rigid in Europe than they are here. It is, however, not a very cinematic play.
To an outsider such as Helena this is mere sentimental whimsy; to them, it is a way of expressing their mutual love. He does see that his wife lacks any strong feelings of her own, is merely unthinkingly conventional, and is too easily swayed by others,especially her folks and her friend. The British theatre of the early fifties, dominated by playwrights like Noel Coward and Terence Rattigan, was widely regarded as genteel, well-mannered and middle-class. His wife is unemotional, cold, snobbish, and unfeeling. He is domineering, controlling, and egotistical; he has a chip on his shoulder. Cliff lives with Jimmy and Alison and is close friends with both. A frequent theme of his complaints is that there are no longer any good causes to fight for; he envies his parents' generation who could fight the anti-fascist battles of the thirties and forties.
She is frightened of Jimmy's reaction to this news, and has not told him. When Jimmy pushes Alison while she is at the ironing board she is burned. He's got a dead end job with a peddler's license in an open air market. Also noteworthy is Donald Pleasance as Hurst, the overbearing market inspector. This is good for the ego but very bad for human relations. He is from a working-class family and, although he has a university degree, has turned his back on the sort of well-paid white-collar job that such an educational background would normally have led to in the fifties, working as a trader in the local market, running a sweet stall with his friend Cliff.
Both Porter and his wife are somewhat typical of their social class, although Porter is far more poetic in his verbal expression than anyone I ever knew back then, and far more emotional. Jimmy is college educated but works with a partner Cliff Lewis as a street vendor operating a candy stall. She is unhappy and unloved by him, but is all too ready to run away from the situation, and have her unborn child aborted she doesn't abort because the doctor indirectly warns her not to. The play as presented on stage takes place entirely within the apartment of married couple Richard Burton and Mary Ure. Mary Ure as Porter's long-suffering wife, Allison, quietly demonstrates the pain of loving someone who is incapable of love. Jimmy is college educated but works with a partner, Cliff Lewis, as a street vendor operating a candy stall.
Cliff lives withJimmy and Alison and is close friends with both. When Jimmy pushes Alison while she is at the ironing board she is burned. When Jimmy leaves for work, Alison confides to Cliff that she is pregnant. In the end they each realize their own faults. Jimmy is visited by his childhood nanny, Mrs. Alison visits her doctor where it is revealed that she is pregnant.