"Look Back In Anger" Is Released

Look Back in Anger is a 1958 British film starring Richard Burton, Claire Bloom and Mary Ure and directed by Tony Richardson.

It is based on John Osborne's play of the same name about a love triangle involving an intelligent but disaffected young man (Jimmy Porter), his upper-middle-class, impassive wife (Alison), and her snooty best friend (Helena Charles). Cliff, an amiable Welsh lodger, attempts to keep the peace. The character of Ma Tanner, only referred to in the original play, is here brought to life by Edith Evans as a dramatic device to emphasise the class difference between Jimmy and Alison. The film and play are classic examples of the British cultural movement known as kitchen sink realism.

Archetypal British "angry young man" Jimmy Porter (Richard Burton) is a college-educated bloke who can't seem to get any better job than working in a candy store. Jimmy's relationship with his wife Alison (Mary Ure) alternates between hugs and kisses when he's feeling good and verbal abuse when he's down on himself, which is often. Alison's best friend Helena Charles (Claire Bloom) advises Alison to escape her injurious marriage. Left with no one for a punching bag, Jimmy romances Helena. Having suffered a miscarriage, Alison returns, and Helena walks out of Jimmy's life. In keeping with its depiction of the dead-end existence of most of England's working poor in the late 1950s, nothing is truly resolved in Look Back in Anger. Playwright John Osborne (at that time married to Mary Ure) uses Jimmy Porter as a spokesman for Osborne's own spleen-venting harangues against the British government and class system. Not only did Look Back in Anger spawn a new genre of British social-protest films, but it also inspired two remakes, both filmed for television. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide