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Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner
     

The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner

Director: Tony Richardson, Tom Courtenay, Michael Redgrave, James Bolam

Cast: Tony Richardson, Tom Courtenay, Michael Redgrave, James Bolam

 

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One of the key "angry young man" films which helped define the British "Kitchen Sink Drama" style of the late 1950's and early 60's, this story centers on Colin Smith (Tom Courtenay), a bitter young man from a working-class family. Uninterested in school and determined not to follow his father into factory work, Colin and his friend Mike (James Bolam) make their

Overview

One of the key "angry young man" films which helped define the British "Kitchen Sink Drama" style of the late 1950's and early 60's, this story centers on Colin Smith (Tom Courtenay), a bitter young man from a working-class family. Uninterested in school and determined not to follow his father into factory work, Colin and his friend Mike (James Bolam) make their pocket money through petty crime, until they're arrested after the robbery of a baker's shop and sentenced to Borstal (British reform school). The Governor of the school (Michael Redgrave) takes a keen interest in Colin, but he cares less for his rehabilitation than his gifts as a broken-field runner; Colin finds himself torn between the need to please his captors and his determination not to play along with what he sees as a corrupt system. The Loneliness Of The Long Distance Runner was the first film for Courtenay, whose performance earned him the "Most Promising Newcomer" prize at the 1962 British Film Academy awards.

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Bearing all the hallmarks of the British New Wave (and owing a sizable debt to the French New Wave), The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner captured the bitterness and resentment that characterized the "angry young man" in the British post-war landscape. Relentlessly grim and uncompromising in its condemnation of the ruling class, the film and its hero are at times hard to take. But if the film is threatened by self-righteous tendencies, it is ultimately redeemed by genuine rage and defiance. When Colin throws the Borstal's race against the public school boys, he aims a well-placed slap to the face of the establishment, and it resounds with stinging accuracy. Making his striking screen debut as Colin, Tom Courtenay became another of the rising number of film actors whose unconventional features did not conform to the glamorous standards of pre-war cinema; rough and surly, his face was perfect for communicating the barren hopelessness intrinsic to New Wave portrayals of the oppressed working class. Rather than simmer with pre-meditated rage, he just doesn't care, and his rebellion, when it comes, seems wrought more out of a sneer than a shout. The silent, unforced anger of Colin's actions is disquieting, capturing the all-encompassing disgust that marked a new generation of young men who, after looking back in anger, faced the future with nihilistic abandon.

Product Details

Release Date:
06/25/1996
UPC:
0707729600435
Original Release:
1962

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Tom Courtenay Colin Smith
Michael Redgrave Governor
James Bolam Mike
Avis Bunnage Mrs. Smith
James Cairncross Jones
Alec McCowen Brown
Peter Madden Mr. Smith
Julia Foster Gladys
Joe Robinson Roach
Topsy Jane Audrey
John Bull Ronalds
Philip Martin Stacey
Frank Finlay Booking Office Clerk
Peter Duguid Doctor
Robert Percival Tory Politician
Raymond Austin Craig
James Fox Actor
Arthur Mullard Chief Officer
Brian Hammond Johnny Smith
John Brooking Green
Peter Kriss Scott
Christopher Parker Bill Smith
Anthony Sagar Fenton
John Thaw Bosworth
Dervis Ward Detective
Christopher Williams Public School Boy

Technical Credits
Tony Richardson Director,Producer
John Addison Score Composer
Ralph W. Brinton Production Designer
Jimmy Evans Makeup
Antony Gibbs Editor
Sophia Harris Costumes/Costume Designer
Walter Lassally Cinematographer
Josie MacAvin Set Decoration/Design
Ted Marshall Art Director
Alan Sillitoe Screenwriter

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