Reisz began his career in 1960 with a film version
of the seminal working class novel 'Saturday Night and Sunday Morning'
which was penned by local author, Alan Sillitoe.
The film was shot on location in and around Nottingham's
enormous Raleigh factory on Faraday Road, then the largest cycle
manufacturing plant in the world.
Although most of the Raleigh factory has now gone,
many of the film locations such as the Ropewalk, Derby Road, the
Savoy Cinema in Lenton and Nottingham Castle are recognisable today.
The Eight Bells pub which featured in the film
was demolished in the 1960s. Two of the house scenes were also shot
at 5 Beaconsfield Terrace and 198 Norton Street, Radford.
|Albert Finney looks suitably moody as Arthur
Nottingham provided a perfect backdrop for the
young Albert Finney, cast in the role of an abrasive young factory
worker called Arthur Seaton.
"Don't let the bastards grind you down" spits Seaton,
in a manner that would have been shocking to post-war cinema audiences.
Peppered with this kind of dialogue and tackling
the theme of class struggle 'Saturday Night and Sunday Morning'
put Reisz at the forefront of ‘New Wave cinema,’ a genre which dominated
the British film industry for most of the early 60s.
'In the film, Finney wears his checked work-shirt
like it had been woven from the very fabric of Raleigh and Radford,'
remarks local historian Chris Richards.
'Covered in grease, and hair plastered with Brilliantine
and factory sweat, his nicotine-stained fingers are never far away
from the workbench or workmate’s wife!'
‘Saturday Night and Sunday Morning’ was superbly
interpreted from Sillitoe’s script by Karel Reisz and spoke to a
generation of post-war people of all classes in a manner never addressed
The cautionary tale sees Seaton’s initial rebelliousness
diminished by several key events; including a relationship with
a ‘well-to-do’ steady girlfriend, Doreen (Shirley Anne Field), an
affair with a married woman leading to a terrifying back-street
abortion, and subsequent punishment doled out by an aggrieved husband
and his heavy-handed associates.
Ultimately, the young Raleigh worker looks beyond
the limited horizons of his parent’s dark terraced streets and considers
married life on a brand new council estate. Though
the final scene to 'Saturday Night and Sunday Morning' appears to
suggest that ‘the price of social mobility is submission and conformity’.
The likes of Karel Reisz and Raleigh Industries
will never be seen by Nottingham again. But, when the remaining
bit of the Raleigh factory site is finally redeveloped as city penthouses,
it’s just possible that a present day Arthur Seaton will arrive
home from his white-collar sweatshop one evening and realise that
the themes expressed in 'Saturday Night and Sunday Morning' are
as true today as they’ve ever been!
'Saturday Night and Sunday Morning' is being shown
at the Broadway Cinema, Nottingham Friday 27th - Sunday 29th December