Adapted from a famous Stan Barstow novel the story evolves around Vic Brown's relationship with Ingrid Rothwell, a typist who works at the same place. When Ingrid falls pregnant, Vic is obliged to marry her and his life is turned upside down when he comes up against the mother-in-law from Hell wonderfully portrayed by Thora Hird. This is a fine example of British movie making and is worth seeing for the performances by Alan Bates; June Ritchie and of course, Thora Hird. Controversial at the time since it shows a partially nude June Ritchie which was taboo at the time, it looks dated now. But one cannot deny it was a fine achievement for its time. Good picture and sound make the DVD version a good buy. Shame there are no other features available; a trailer would have been nice.
on 4 July 2010
This repackaged version of John Schlesinger's seminal masterpiece "A Kind of Loving", is still sadly not the definitive restoration so sorely needed for this the very finest of British films. The print appears to be the same as that previously released by Momentum, and comes as a very grainy version with much of the original detail lost. As a result, Schlesinger's masterful attention to detail and the exquisite beauty of Denys Coop's black & white photography is still compromised in this edition. Additionally, this may also be a slightly shorter version than the previous release. Let's hope the likes of US restorer Criterion might get hold of it, and do what they did for their Region 1 Billy Liar double disc restoration, which is one of the best DVD restoration and extras packages on the market.
That said, very little can spike the director's genius and the utterly perfect script from legends Keith Waterhouse & Willis Hall. Of all the northern film dramas of the period, "A Kind of Loving" is the one that tells how it really was. The awkward and touching innocence of Alan Bates' Vic and June Ritchie's Ingrid, was socially par for the course in pre Beatles Britain - which was still in a kind of frozen post war shock.
This is a film that was rightfully shot in black & white, and in that true monochrome spirit, Schlesinger so skilfully reminds us that cold rainy streets and packed buses with steamed up windows can still be the stuff of romance. Vic's tender joy at having hooked Ingrid into a date on Saturday night is truly palpable, and identifies in all of us that special romantic rush that blots out all our worldly worries.
"A Kind of Loving" is a top drawer British classic that deserves the full uncut restoration treatment with supporting documentaries and commentaries. Studio Canal please take note for the forthcoming Blu-Ray version which I'm sure will soon be on the cards.
Since writing this review, Studio Canal recently released the three movie French DVD package: "John Schlesinger - La Trilogie Anglaise", containing Billy Liar, Darling, and A Kind of Loving. All three are exceptionally good prints, especially "A Kind of Loving". The films are in English with French subtitles, and available from Amazon France. The fact that both Billy and Darling are now on Blu-ray, makes me suspect that "A Kind of Loving" will shortly be on the restoration bench.
John Schlesinger has the ability to portray life as it was, not through a rose tinted window. His documentaries are second to none in my view and this drama reflects the world as it was at the tinme. It is the detail that he captures that is astonishing. Things that you had long forgotten and often missing in films of this genre. Being made in black and white somehow adds to the starkness of the reality - the grimy scenes of a Northern England industrial city on a wet winter's morning with a hint of sun being reflected in the puddles and the condensation of breath in the air. The tobacco kiosk, dimly lit in a pedestrian passageway, with just the glow of a warm incandescant lamp through the serving window, itself lined with tubes of fruit sweets and mints priced from 3d. The beams of the projector in a cinema, dancing in the thick cigarette smoke. The open platform double deck bus home on a cold evening, again the dim glow of the lightbulbs on the lower deck, condensation running down the windows, and the whine of the gearbox underneath. Fabulous film with a simple and realistic story. 100% enjoyment of the kind that's not made anymore. Don't even hesitate on this one.
on 22 April 2006
Believe me, this might as well be an early 60s documentary. Just the way it was for plenty of Vic's and Ingrid's, including staying with the mother in law. Incidently, Thora Hird wasn't the worst. A sort of semi-staid Britain just before the Beatles exploded on the scene. Great acting all round. From the script to the decor, clothing and shortage of cars on the road, it's just the way it was. No features or trailer, who cares. If you want to time travel back to early 60s UK and be a fly on the wall in almost any home.
Firstly, what an assured masterpiece that Mr Schlesinger has made at his first attempt - and no one hit wonder, either, going on to making many classics, here and in Hollywood.
I'm not old enough to have seen this film when it came out (not even having been thought of, let alone born!) and so, it isn't until a full half century later that I first lay eyes on it. It had a lot of hype and praise to live up to; my film 'bible', Halliwell's massive film guide praise it to the rafters, as do many reviewers, here on Amazon.
Many have gone into detail over plot and all that, which basically means that I won't...But, having seen pretty well all the other British socio-realist films in black & white, this is more gentle, less dramatic and ultimately more authentic. For drama, there's little to beat This Sporting Life and for social diversity, A Taste of Honey is more colourful.
In many ways, the narrative runs like a novel, where you can read the descriptions of all the little details, like travelling on buses, people pushing past you in the cinema, buying sweet from a late-night booth and all that. It's about the journey there, into the scenes and not just landing in them and saying, 'here we are'.
The story, also, is rather unexceptional. Far from boring, though but I'm sure this allowed more people to identify with it and feel a part of it. Most, I'm sure could easily distance themselves from the rugby playing Richard Harris in This Sporting Life, but Alan Bates, here, could be several million young men, all over the country. He doesn't act, or come across as being "northern", either and by most people's standards is very normal. Finding himself in the predicament that he does, to today's audiences smacks of almost naive innocence, but 50 years ago, was a very different state of affairs. That it could happen to such a nice, ordinary chap and in such an ordinary nice and ordinary way...
I'm talking of him getting his co-star, June Ritchie, a typist where he works, pregnant, of course. Thora Hird, always a pleasure to watch and always playing a larger than life character is June's Mum and Mum's being Mum's is both protective and ultimately damaging toward her daughter. Her character is typical of how we now perceive a strong northern mother to be, strong-willed, outspoken and more than a little bit bossy - and yes, talks a lot.
What particularly gave me pleasure was seeing all these other character actors, mostly in sitcoms and not-so-brilliant comedies in the '70's and '80s, when I was growing up, here in their fresh-faced youth. From James Bolam to Leonard Rossiter, plus many more whose faces I cannot, in hindsight put a name to.
There's no doubting that A Kind Of Loving will withstand - and benefit from, repeated viewings. It didn't beat its chest and browbeat me into saying how good it was, it let me decide that for myself. Which is good, very good....
What I enjoyed most about this film was it's simplicity, honesty and depth of characterisation. Back in the 1960s they could produce a movie masterclass on a tiny budget because they had acting greats like Alan Bates and Thora Herd tearing through the script. There isn't anything complicated in the plot, it's a love story set amidst serious family conflict, but there's stacks of tension as Alan Bates goes to war with Thora Herd who plays the ultimate disapproving mother-in-law obsessed with her daughter. At the time of release A Kind of Loving was considered incredibly racy, raunchy and probably one to avoid with it's themes of sex before marriage and unplanned pregnancy. There's a wonderful turning point in the film when Alan Bates eventually confronts his mother-in-law and stands up for both himself and his girl but; I'm not going to tell you if there's a happy ending!! A brave film for it's time, tackling issues that weren't usually discussed outside of the home never mind watched in the cinema, and packed with atmosphere. A real slice of British social history and a must have for those with an interest in vintage British film. Picture and audio quality were fine, no problems, just a great allround film experience.
on 12 February 2012
I was 16 in 1962 when this film was released and starting to find my feet in the world that existed then.
Two TV channels and visits to the cinema with films "U" - everybody,"A' - get someone to take you in! and "X' -16+ (Then containing scenes you now see in commercials shown all day!)The thrill of buying 45's and saving for an LP!.Youth clubs,coffee bars and the attraction of girls who either modeled themselves on Sandra Dee or Natalie Wood.NO reality TV and people with a work ethic(No work,no money!)NO chance of making a girl pregnant ignoring your responsibilities and letting the state pick up the bill!
Which is what, this,my favorite film of all time is all about.Alan Bates and June Ritchie(what happened to her?)are superb as the lead characters with the wonderful Thora Hird stealing every scene she appears in.
If you want to see a brilliant film capturing the mood of pre Beatles 60's when work and morality were king DONT MISS IT!