(director: John Sclesinger; screenwriters: from the novel by Stan Barstow/Willis Hall/Keith Waterhouse; cinematographer: Denys Coop; editor: David Martin; music: Ron Grainer; cast: Alan Bates (Vic Brown), June Ritchie (Ingrid Rothwell), Thora Hird (Mrs. Rothwell), Bert Palmer (Mr. Brown), Gwen Nelson (Mrs. Brown), Malcolm Patton (Jim Brown), Pat Keen (Christine), David Mahlowe (David), Jack Smethurst (Conroy), James Bolam (Jeff), Michael Deacon (Les); Runtime: 107; MPAA Rating: R; producer: Joseph Janni; Warner Home Video; 1962-UK)

A moving portrait of the bumps on the road in a relationship.

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Director John Sclesinger’s (“Sunday, Bloody Sunday”/”Billy Liar”/”Midnight Cowboy”)debut feature film is a sympathetic moralistic look at romance in the north county of Lancashire, a grim industrial town. It’s executed in a somewhat plodding manner and moves at a snail’s pace. But because the characters act so natural and without any pretentiousness, the b/w pic turns out to be a moving portrait of the bumps on the road in a relationship. It’s based on the novel by Stan Barstow and is written by Willis Hall and Keith Waterhouse.

Young nice guy draftsman Vic Brown (Alan Bates) is attracted to the 19-year-old blonde Ingrid Rothwell (June Ritchie), an office typist in his factory’s typist pool. After several dates, Ingrid invites the easygoing Vic to stay overnight in her apartment while her widowed mom (Thora Hird) is away. It results in her unwanted pregnancy, and when Vic learns of this he reluctantly agrees to marry her. Mistakenly the couple move in with her narrow-minded witch-like mom, and their marriage, based on a strong physical attraction, falters. When Ingrid has a miscarriage, Vic no longer feels obligated to keep the sham marriage going and seeks the counsel of his happily married sister Christine (Pat Keen). Sis doesn’t tell him what he wants to hear and instead rebukes him for not trying hard enough to make the marriage work. Vic returns to Ingrid, and determines the marriage might work if they move away from his interfering mother-in-law. We’re left in the end with a glimmer of hope that the marriage may work out, in ‘a kind of loving’ manner.

Bates gives an outstanding performance as a cheeky but confused young adult. Bert Palmer and Gwen Nelson play Bates’ folksy working-class parents as if they were his real down-to-earth parents. The tense class-conscious kitchen sink drama draws out a bittersweet story of working-class types caught between striving to conform and yearning to escape their fate by going off the reservation, as Sclesinger never patronizes the struggling couple but views their plight sympathetically.

REVIEWED ON 2/18/2011 GRADE: B   https://dennisschwartzreviews.com/

Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”