"Billy Liar" Is Released
Billy Liar is a 1963 film based on the novel by Keith Waterhouse.
It was directed by John Schlesinger and stars Tom Courtenay (who had understudied Albert Finney in the West End theatre adaptation of the novel) as Billy and Julie Christie as Liz, one of his three girlfriends. Mona Washbourne plays Mrs Fisher, and Wilfred Pickles played Mr Fisher. Rodney Bewes, Finlay Currie and Leonard Rossiter also feature. The Cinemascope photography is by Denys Coop, and Richard Rodney Bennett supplied the score.
Billy Fisher (Tom Courtenay) is known to his blue-collar British mates as Billy Liar because of his vivid imagination. This film version of the Keith Waterhouse-Willis Hall stage play "visualizes" some of Billy's more outrageous fabrications. He periodically escapes the drudgery of his job at a funeral parlor by conjuring up impossible adventures, usually involving the conquest of women. In one of her first film roles, Julie Christie plays one of two "real" girls who wish that Billy would come down to earth and pop the question. Following this film adaptation, Billy Liar was transformed into a stage musical, and later resurfaced as a British TV series. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide