6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best of British - Well nearly - Well done
I wholeheartedly agree with DH Dixon (tho I am a couple of years late). I think this was one of Winner's best films. Full of life and vigour, but tinged with genuine pathos, and well acted. Personally I think this is possibly Reed's finest performence - he is restrained yet believable in his moodiness and violent streak. As for the ladies - Winner draws out terrific...
Published 21 months ago by A. W. Wilson
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An interesting curate's egg
The main reason I bought this was to see an early Reed starring movie, as my favourite one, The Jokers still hasn't come out on dvd. I vaguely remembered watching The System and thinking it was okay. Having just watched it again, as a film entertainment, I still think it is okay and no more really. However for social history observers, this film is a lot better than okay...
Published on 26 Sep 2009 by Lou Knee
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best of British - Well nearly - Well done,
This review is from: The System [DVD] (DVD)I wholeheartedly agree with DH Dixon (tho I am a couple of years late). I think this was one of Winner's best films. Full of life and vigour, but tinged with genuine pathos, and well acted. Personally I think this is possibly Reed's finest performence - he is restrained yet believable in his moodiness and violent streak. As for the ladies - Winner draws out terrific performences from them all..Jane Merrow, young as she was, shows great promise, Barbara Ferris - sexy and vulnerable, Julia Foster, a bit over written perhaps, but very good, and, my own favourite, Ann Lynn, so good as an unhappy woman married to the resident Theatre Comedian. The rest of the young cast are given and take every oportunity to show they have better things to come (John Alderton,David Hemmings,Pauline Munro, and the very youthful!! Harry Andrews, terrific in a small part). The sondtrack throbs with 6o's music (The Searchers) and newsreel of the time is cleverly inserted at various points to add atmosphere. The 16.9 print is excellent, and there is a most useful booklet. Also at last ODEON have included a very full cast list. Thankyou. I don't give 5 stars very often but I do so here because I just enjoyed every minute, but to be a bit cautious, this may be because of my age and I lived thru times like the ones shown (tho sadly not quite so exciting, and the girls were perhaps not so attractive).
18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of Winner's winners,
This review is from: The System [DVD] (DVD)I have to disagree with the other reviewers, this has always been a favourite film. Jane Merrow is terrific, so is Oliver Reed, and it also features Harry Andrews. The black and white photography is excellent and I like the atmosphere and period feel very much. The seaside setting is very attractive. This film is immaculate, and with a theme song by The Searchers, where does it fail? I would rank this next to Death Wish and The Jokers as one of Michael Winner's best films.
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Winner's early winner,
This review is from: The System [DVD] (DVD)Given director Michael Winner's critical reputation today, it's hard to remember that he, too, once enjoyed a moment in the sun. For a brief period at the start of the 1960s, the director received good reviews on both side of the Atlantic, most especially from the American critics impressed by his ability to adapt very contemporary subject matter and make it appeal to an international youth audience. In particular, The System, followed in turn by The Jokers (1966), and then I'll Never Forget What's'isname (1967), attracted attention. All three films starred Oliver Reed, cast after Winner had spotted the potential of the actor who had previously appeared in Hammer horror films.
Overshadowed by the slackness and crudity of some of his later, more ambitious projects, these early titles are overlooked. But for The System, at the time of its release, Newsweek praised Winner as the unheralded director of a "consistently intelligent and often brilliant low-budget import." Seen today it can be identified as part of a group of films that have interesting anticipations of each other within British cinema. In the film Reed plays 'Tinker' a seaside photographer, the charismatic leader of a group of young men seeking sexual conquest at the seaside.
The System, unsubtly re-titled The Girl-Getters for the USA, was felt to be controversial in subject matter at the time, although by today's standards it is pretty mild. Reed had earlier appeared as a tearaway in another resort-set movie, Losey's cult item The Damned (1961); in the present film it is almost as if the young thug from the previous story has moved on a little to a newly precarious living, at least as far as he might be able to. The character Tinker is much more self-confessional in the present movie, and to that extent has attracted comparisons to Alfie (1966), which took the self-examination of a moral vacuum to a much greater level. The System co-stars some well-known names: John Alderton, Harry Andrews, and Derek Nimmo all appear.
Originally, Julie Christie was slated to appear too as Tinker's posh love interest Nicola, but unfortunately this deal fell through and the role was taken by Jane Merrow. There's also a young David Hemmings, playing a relative on his first trip to the sexually exploitative seaside. Two years later the actor was to star in another film in which photography is also at the centre of activity, Antonioni's Blow Up. In The System there is reference to 'the takers and the taken' extending the photographic metaphor, but unlike in the 1966 movie there is no doubt as to what we are seeing. And Tinker leaves his exposed negatives to the mercies of a commercial developer, away from private obsession.
The 'system' in question is the methodical way the group of friends play the 'grockles' (their name for holidaymakers). As they admit, they have to "take what they can from the visitors (to) prepare for the cold winter." Filmed in Torquay and Brixham, Winner's film is rich on location and atmosphere, effects helped immeasurably by the widescreen work of cinematographer Nicolas Roeg. Reed proves his stature as a star in a film that is, ultimately, all about him. From the first sight of him in a seaside hat, camera in hand, lounging on a railway platform, he is rarely off screen. His magnetic appearance makes one overlook the inelegance displayed on the dance floor in one scene (the manic moves of which recall his short-lived appearance back in Beat Girl, 1959).
Tinker is someone who, at the start of the film at least, is confident in his own motives and position in life; one who has preyed and succeeded repeatedly over the brief four-month holiday season. As the story progresses, however, he will discover that his position is more circumscribed than he thought and that, judged by his own standards and motives; he can find situations painfully reversed. Tinker has relationships with three main women during the course of the film: the wife of the local seaside comedian (his 'winter bird'); with Lorna, a naïve single tourist (Julia Foster); and a visiting rich man's daughter Nicola.
One of the most interesting points of the film is how readily the case-hardened Tinker falls for Nicola. Is his sudden vulnerability a symptom of underlying self-deception, or has the promiscuous photographer merely overreached himself socially as well as emotionally? Humiliated during a game of tennis with Nicola's rich friends, away from the sexual shenanigans at the beach, Tinker is confronted with another system: the class war. When blowing bubbles back and forth during his curious 'seduction' of his Nicola in his room earlier, Tinker had nothing to lose; by contrast the strike of a tennis ball into his face proves painful on more than one level, as a reminder of his limitations.
In his memoir Winner Takes All the director says that The System "changed my life" - that is laid the foundations, after previous false starts, for a successful career as filmmaker. Star, Reed, too, was to go on and find fame and fortune - at least until his drink-related behaviour got the better of him and he became a parody of his earlier, dynamic self. Co-star Jane Merrow sadly failed to capitalise on her success here, and drifted into television and obscurity. The film itself, after its initial period of praise and notoriety, vanished into the never-land of rare screenings on TV and so its belated appearance on DVD, albeit without extras, is to be welcomed. Although now dated in some elements, it remains a reminder of the hidden strengths of British cinema of the 1960s and a related part of the 'social problem' cycle of the time.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An interesting curate's egg,
This review is from: The System [DVD] (DVD)The main reason I bought this was to see an early Reed starring movie, as my favourite one, The Jokers still hasn't come out on dvd. I vaguely remembered watching The System and thinking it was okay. Having just watched it again, as a film entertainment, I still think it is okay and no more really. However for social history observers, this film is a lot better than okay. It looks incredibly dated now, but its theme is very relevant to the era it was made in. It brings home probably even more than Alfie and Georgy Girl the conflict between sexual freedom and the natural desire to have something more meaningful, and it shows as much as A Kind of Loving or Saturday Night and Sunday Morning the dangers of sexual freedom in a society where having kids out of wedlock was a major no no. So, sociologically this film is quite fascinating. It looks quite quaint in places when it's obviously showing its most daring scenes, but these were more innocent times. For 1964 general release this really was daring.
Some of the director's more gimmicky touches, a sort of contempoary fashion for the jokey, flashy visual youth culturey scenes ala Richard Lester did make me wince, but that was the sort of film the studios wanted then (The Beatles have a lot to answer for). Reed's performance is quite interesting for fans of his, and you can't say the role doesn't suit him. There's definitely a larger than life quality to him already in this film, and a brooding presence. Although I'm very glad I bought it, as pure movie entertainment it is not brilliant, but alright, hence the lowish 3.5 star grading.
15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An early performance from Reed, one of UK's best actors,
This review is from: The System [DVD] (DVD)I haven't seen this film for a few years when it was on TV late one night but I'm pleased that another DVD starring one of Britain's most underated actors is at last being released very soon. This performance, however (in my opinion), is not one of his best; he did get better with age but his career was hindered I'm sure by his unpredictabilty - mainly due to the imbibing of the 'tinctures'. This film is more of a statement on sixties' Britain and the youth of that decade, rather than a great storyline; Oliver Reed is the perfect choice. I hope that there will soon be other releases of his films; for example, 'Paranoiac', 'The Shuttered Room' and 'The Triple Echo' to name but a few.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars One of Oliver Reed's Best Early Roles,
This review is from: The System [DVD] (DVD)Not having seen this film for many years, although I do have memories of certain scenes such as the crowded beach scenes (you rarely see that these days) and the scene between Reed and the lovely Julia Foster in the bedroom in her undies (which was quite daring for the early 1960s), it was good to watch this again.
It is a story of characters, a group of young men who bet on each other's willingness to chat up any girl who happens to be available and to see how far they can go. Reed plays a local photographer prowling around beaches and the prom taking photos, chatting up women whom he takes a fancy too. (The seaside town looks suspiciously like Torquay). He meets an attractive girl from a wealthy background (Jane Merrow in one of her very early roles) and before long, becomes smitten with her. This is where the story gets more interesting as she turns the tables on him, leaving him with his memories of a "holiday romance" which many people have experienced sometime during their lives.
Oliver Reed in one of his best early roles before succumbing to alcohol, steals the film, his character standing head and shoulders above everyone else. There is however, a good supporting cast; older viewers will recognise Derek Nimmo, Julia Foster, Guy Doleman, and the lovely Ann Lynn who never became a major star in British films which was a shame. Also, look out for a very young David Hemmings before he made his name with the classic movie "Blow-Up".
Worth a look just to see British seaside resorts as they were during the early 1960s. You will never see the likes of those again.
Picture quality is variable, with much grain in some scenes, and the soundtrack is mono.
5.0 out of 5 stars One of ollies great early films and good directing by Michael winner,
This review is from: The System [DVD] (DVD)This film is shot on location in torbay my hometown some of the buildings have since gone but on the whole still recognisable
5.0 out of 5 stars The System dvd,
This review is from: The System [DVD] (DVD)I bought this DVD as it is from my home town and because I am in the film as an extra it bought back a lot of happy memories fast delivery well packed great film
5.0 out of 5 stars My local area,
This review is from: The System [DVD] (DVD)Brilliant area where this film was shot that's why i bought this particular flim ,Oliver Read in Paignton in Devon wish I'd been around when he did the filming
5.0 out of 5 stars great film.,
This review is from: The System [DVD] (DVD)very good film. i live in torquay.nice to see the area in 1964. good quality. just what i would have expected.
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The System [DVD] by Michael Winner (DVD - 2008)