HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
1 chance sur 2
Betterman
Scooby-Doo! Abracadabra-Doo
Yin Yang Master, The
Hail, Mafia!
Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase
Mirai
Strange House, The
Morfalous, Les
Dreambuilders
Everything Went Fine
Lux AEterna
Rum Runners
Fairy and the Devil, The
Mad God
Outside the Law
I Remember Mama
Superman Unbound
Lawrence of Belgravia
House Across the Lake, The
Wonder Park
Hornsby e Rodriguez
Operation Mincemeat
5 Kung Fu Daredevil Heroes
Scoob!
Earwig
Offseason
Peau Douce, La
Double Indemnity
Na Cha and the Seven Devils
Deep Murder
Superman vs. the Elite
Adam Project, The
Osamu Tezuka's Last Mystery of the 20th Century
Horse, La
Buffaloed
Train Robbers, The
Let Sleeping Cops Lie
Abominable
Funeral, The
   
 
Newest Articles
3 From Arrow Player: Sweet Sugar, Girls Nite Out and Manhattan Baby
Little Cat Feat: Stephen King's Cat's Eye on 4K UHD
La Violence: Dobermann at 25
Serious Comedy: The Wrong Arm of the Law on Blu-ray
DC Showcase: Constantine - The House of Mystery and More on Blu-ray
Monster Fun: Three Monster Tales of Sci-Fi Terror on Blu-ray
State of the 70s: Play for Today Volume 3 on Blu-ray
The Movie Damned: Cursed Films II on Shudder
The Dead of Night: In Cold Blood on Blu-ray
Suave and Sophisticated: The Persuaders! Take 50 on Blu-ray
Your Rules are Really Beginning to Annoy Me: Escape from L.A. on 4K UHD
A Woman's Viewfinder: The Camera is Ours on DVD
Chaplin's Silent Pursuit: Modern Times on Blu-ray
The Ecstasy of Cosmic Boredom: Dark Star on Arrow
A Frosty Reception: South and The Great White Silence on Blu-ray
You'll Never Guess Which is Sammo: Skinny Tiger and Fatty Dragon on Blu-ray
Two Christopher Miles Shorts: The Six-Sided Triangle/Rhythm 'n' Greens on Blu-ray
Not So Permissive: The Lovers! on Blu-ray
Uncomfortable Truths: Three Shorts by Andrea Arnold on MUBI
The Call of Nostalgia: Ghostbusters Afterlife on Blu-ray
Moon Night - Space 1999: Super Space Theater on Blu-ray
Super Sammo: Warriors Two and The Prodigal Son on Blu-ray
Sex vs Violence: In the Realm of the Senses on Blu-ray
What's So Funny About Brit Horror? Vampira and Bloodbath at the House of Death on Arrow
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
   
 
  Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner, The Fast Track To Nowhere
Year: 1962
Director: Tony Richardson
Stars: Michael Redgrave, Tom Courtenay, Avis Bunnage, Alec McCowen, James Bolam, Joe Robinson, Dervis Ward, Topsy Jane, Julia Foster, James Fox, John Thaw, Arthur Mullard, Peter Madden, Frank Finlay, Ray Austin, Derek Fowlds, Edward Fox
Genre: DramaBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Colin Smith (Tom Courtenay) is an eighteen-year-old youth who has been sent to borstal for being stupid enough to get caught stealing. But he is not a stupid boy, he simply makes bad choices, and now as he arrives by van with the other new inmates he clams up and sullenly obeys orders, ferried through with the rest of them to hear what the Governor (Michael Redgrave) has to say. The other staff make no secret of their antagonism towards them, but the head man prefers a paternalistic approach and to channel the boys' energies into sporting activities. He is especially interested in Colin when he reveals himself to be an adept runner - long distances will be his speciality.

The Angry Young Man movement showed no sign of slowing down when Tony Richardson directed Alan Sillitoe's adaptation of his own short novel as another example of someone who was mad as Hell and not going to take it anymore, though in this case it was more to do with the battle between working and upper classes that raised our antihero's ire. We were by no means intended to feel complete sympathy towards Colin, we are well aware, as is he, why he has been dispatched to a borstal as he is a criminal and he has no remorse as to that status in society, but he has to rebel against a hopeless situation somehow, and nobody else was going to help him escape.

The thing was, of course, that the Governor could do precisely that, and that places Colin in a difficult position between the proverbial rock and a hard place, as if he goes along with the top authority he could be regarded as having sold out, yet if he buckles under that pressure and continues to rebel, he is allying himself with the fellow inmates, and indeed a whole class, who don't care about him anyway since they are keen to scrabble over any and everyone in the mad dash to get ahead in an unforgiving world. In fact, his ultimate decision could be perceived as rank stupidity, a statement that rings utterly hollow when it will trap him in a no hope life for the rest of his days.

Richardson offered us flashbacks to Colin's past so we were able to secure some kind of understanding for his motives and compulsions, which sees him struggle with his days in Nottingham as his father was ailing badly and his mother was more keen to collect on the insurance money than she was to see her husband survive. As the oldest of four kids, Colin should be all rights be the breadwinner now, but he has no interest in that as he receives no thanks, and certainly no love, at home, so the only escape he enjoys is when we see him tear off to the seaside with his new girlfriend Topsy Jane and his best pal James Bolam and his new lady, Julia Foster. Looking like a cliché now, these holiday scenes nevertheless conveyed the desire for some idyll away from his cares that Colin has no hope of sustaining.

But if anyone made us invested in how the protagonist would make it through a very bleak existence, it was Tom Courtenay, as in his screen debut he was patently talented enough to go far further than the character he played could ever dream of. As the predecessor of many a troubled and troublesome teen, you could see echoes of his performance from anywhere to If.... to Scum to any others of that hard-hitting ilk, so he was definitely starting something with his raw, driven style that more than anything in the screenplay was what kept you watching. He was surrounded by a cast of old pros and up-and-comers, with some well-kent faces to be seen, some of them uncredited like John Thaw as a Liverpudlian inmate and James Fox as the star runner from the public school who Colin must prove himself against. Blatantly and purposefully leaving the viewer with mixed feelings about what was surely a Pyrrhic victory, The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner matched its grim emotions to wintertime rural locations, and proved hard to forget. Music by John Addison.

[Available as part of the BFI's Woodfall box set on Blu-ray and DVD, which includes these fully restored films:

Look Back in Anger (Tony Richardson, 1959)
The Entertainer (Tony Richardson, 1960)
Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (Karel Reisz, 1960)
A Taste of Honey (Tony Richardson, 1961)
The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner (Tony Richardson, 1962)
Tom Jones (Tony Richardson, 1963) (New 4K digital restorations of the original theatrical version of the film and the 1989 director's cut)
Girl with Green Eyes (Desmond Davis, 1964)
The Knack ...and how to get it (Richard Lester, 1965).

All that plus 20 hours of extras: short films, featurettes, interviews, audio commentaries and an extensive booklet.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 1991 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
Mary Sibley
Enoch Sneed
Graeme Clark
  Desbris M
  Sheila Reeves
Paul Smith
   

 

Last Updated: