Available now on DVD/Blu-ray from StudioCanal is ‘A Kind of Loving’ the 1962 black and white film from director John Schlesinger. Fans of the British ‘New Wave’ cinema of the late 1950’s / early 1960’s will love this digital restoration from StudioCanal in collaboration with the British Film Institute. Set in the very early 1960’s and filmed in Manchester and the Lancashire towns of Bolton & Preston the restoration has lost none of the atmosphere of the original and gives the viewer an accurate portrayal of life in Britain during that period. The film uses real locations and many of the scenes feature actual people going about their everyday lives. This semi-documentary style of filming adds to the feeling that we are watching believable characters in normal situations and dealing with problems which would have faced people living and working at that time and sadly which are still common today.
The story revolves around the on/off relationship between Vic Brown (Alan Bates) and Ingrid Rothwell (June Ritchie). Both work in the same factory. Eventually Ingrid falls pregnant and Vic doing the ‘right thing’ agrees to marry her and they move in with June’s mother played by Thora Hird. The forthright Mrs Rothwell does n’t have a very high opinion of Vic and after a very short period the relationship between Mrs Rothwell and her son-in-law deteriorates to the extent that she does n’t telephone Vic at his workplace when June is rushed into hospital after a fall and suffers a miscarriage.
The relationship between Vic & Ingrid falls apart due to the lack of physical contact between the two following the miscarriage and the continual interference from Ingrid’s mother. Vic leaves and moves in briefly with his sister and brother-in-law. He gets no sympathy from his own mother and receives a few strong words of wisdom from his father. Vic decides to try and repair his relationship with Ingrid without the interference from Mrs Rothwell. The young couple rent a flat and are last seen going back to the hilltop shelter where they used to go courting.
Wonderfully filmed by Denys Coop who worked on several of these ‘kitchen sink’ dramas. this film is by no means the best of this particular genre but it does give an accurate insight into how life was for many working class families during that era. Solid if unremarkable performances from the cast with as was usual for that time both the male and female leads playing characters much younger that the actor’s actual age.
This story was set and filmed in a time and place long gone. Due to the semi-documentary style it is of course historically accurate and many of the filming locations will probably still exist but the attitudes to life and work and people’s expectations have markedly changed.
The supporting cast features some familiar faces including James Bollam, Leonard Rossiter, Patsy Rowlands and Kathy Staff.
If you enjoy the ‘kitchen sink’ dramas then I recommend this release to you.
‘A Kind of Loving & The British New Wave featurette including interviews with Professor John Hill (Royal Holloway:University of London) and Melanie Williams Reader in Film and Television Studies at the University of East Anglia
Interview with writer & broadcaster Stuart Maconie. Author of ‘Adventures on the High Teas:In search of Middle England’ and ‘Pies and Prejudice:In Search of the North’
National Film Theatre interview with John Schlesinger from 1988
‘Terminus’ A 1961 short film (30 minutes) written & directed by John Schlesinger