The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner

The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner

DVD - 2007
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Colin, a young rebel and promising distance runner, is chosen to represent his reform school in a track race. However, the opposition for Colin isn't another runner, it's the Establishment.
Publisher: Burbank, Calif. : Distributed by Warner Home Video, [2007], 1962
ISBN: 9781419845055
1419845055
Branch Call Number: DVD DRAMA LON
Characteristics: 1 videodisc (104 min.) : sd., b&w ; 4 3/4 in

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j
jsinaz
Sep 14, 2018

This is one of the "angry young man"/"kitchen sink" dramas from the England of the late 50s and early 60s. Director Tony Richardson, whom most people remember as director of "Tom Jones," was one of the leaders of the kitchen sink films that attempted to show a more brutally realistic view of the lives of working-class individuals and families in the post-WW2 period, in contrast to the more romantic and idealized films of the time in both Hollywood and the UK. The movies include "Look Back In Anger" (with Richard Burton), "Saturday Night and Sunday Morning," and "A Taste of Honey." They were sort of a British "new wave" like the French and Italian new wave of the same period. They were more frank about issues of pregnancy without marriage, "free sex," homosexuality, and were far ahead of American films of the same era, that were hamstrung by the prudish Motion Picture Code that censored movies in America until about 1967 (thus making the 70s the closest thing Hollywood came to "new wave" films). 'Loneliness' is typical of the format and Tom Courtenay (Dr Zhivago) is excellent as the angry young man of dubious morals. All of these films were in black and white and show the bleak and dismal urban northern England industrial cities. If you like this kind of film (and I do), you will enjoy Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner.

h
howeshound
Mar 29, 2018

This dates back to when British writers and film makers (the so-called Angry Young Men) discovered the Working Class and went nuts thumping tubs about it. Films like this and Saturday Night and Sunday Morning caused quite a stir in the UK at the time and some of them work quite well. This does not. In its portrayal of themes of class distinction, working class misery, upper class snobbery it ends up totally overcooking its case. Yes, these were (still are in the UK) realities but wallowing in them does nothing for either protagonists or us. I lived in England at the time this film was made and can identify the characters but can't relate to them. You either changed your life, got out of the country, or ended up like Tom Courtenay's character in Borstal. Sillitoe obviously intended to Make A Statement and maybe his book does so more subtly than this film (I haven't read it). The statement I get from the film is: if you go through life with a chip on your shoulder, don't expect things to improve.

w
woodron55
Jan 30, 2017

audio is shot

n
Nursebob
Dec 14, 2014

Colin Smith, an impoverished youth filled with the usual class-conscious rage, is sent to the Ruxton Towers reform school after robbing a bakery. During his incarceration the local governor takes a keen interest in Colin’s athletic prowess as a long distance runner and sees in the lad a chance for the school to win a most prestigious trophy at the annual athletic meet between the working class Ruxton boys and their privileged rivals from a local private school. But a series of increasingly tedious flashbacks show us that Colin has several reasons for being angry at the established gentry; and his anger threatens to transform a simple cross-country race into a most predictable metaphor. It’s all here; the self-righteous tirades against the unfairness of it all, the stock footage of soulless urban sprawl, and the stereotypical angry young man bemoaning his station in life. A few weak ironies are thrown in for good measure; an inmate is privately beaten while the school choir sings a patriotic hymn, a brand new TV (sign of affluence!) is filled with mindless jingles and fascist rants, and Mr. Smith’s death benefit does more good for the family than the old man could ever afford to do while alive. Finally, Colin’s brief interlude at a seaside resort with his buddy and a couple of girls gives rise to even more contemporary angst and yearning. Bland, shallow, and terribly dated.

voisjoe1 Feb 23, 2014

Tom Courtenay plays a working class young man without plans for the future and he is sent to a reform school because of pointless juvenile delinquency. The warden notices that he is a good runner so he convinces him to work out to become a champion long distance runner. This film is out of the school of social realism. According to Wikipedia, “Characters [from this school] included factory workers, office underlings, dissatisfied wives, pregnant girlfriends, runaways, the marginalized, the poor and the depressed. The New Wave protagonist was usually a working-class male without bearings in a society in which traditional industries and the cultures that went with them were in decline.” Courtenay’s character must decide if he is to strive for the benefit of the warden just like his late father worked slavishly to make money for his boss.

THUD55 Dec 20, 2012

this is an "angry young man" movie from 1962. I never knew why he was so pissed at the world. he never said why he was mad and never offered a ray of hope. he didn't want money given to him by his mother but had no problem with stealing it.

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