Wednesday 9 February 2005

The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner (1962) - ickleReview (DVD)

Free cinema, black and white British-made film about Colin Smith (Tom Courtenay), the son of a Nottingham labourer who gets caught robbing a bakery and is sent to a borstal. Its portrayal of what is now called a young offenders' institution is much more positive than, for example, Alan Clarke's Scum (1979). Based on the eponymous short story by Alan Sillitoe, Director Tony Richardson's film combines documentary realism with lyrical exterier shots of Colin on the run. The governor of the borstal (Michael Redgrave) encourages Colin to train for the cross-country race that is to take place between Ruxton Towers borstal and Ranley public school. We are shown in intercut flashbacks Colin's home life, leading up to his arrest: his father's death, his mother's fancyman, Colin's friend Mike (James Bolam, later one of "The Likely Lads") and their seaside excursion to Skegness with a couple of girlfriends.

Nugget: the simple poeticism of German Cinematographer Walter Lassally is really what makes this film, rather than the acting performances.

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