(Richardson 1962) The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner

18-08-16 VIEW (Richardson 1962) The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner pic 1There is more to this bleak sto­ry of a young man in a juve­nile deten­tion facil­i­ty than just anoth­er bit of “social real­ism” or the usu­al for­mu­la of redemp­tion-through-sport. There are lay­ers and lay­ers in Alan Sillitoe’s sto­ry, and Ralph Richardson’s film gets many of them across. It’s about being con­trolled, being used, being forced to play roles for oth­ers, and final­ly rebelling against it in a way that makes some sense. The actors clear­ly under­stood these sub­tleties, and avoid­ed clichés in inter­pret­ing the roles. Tom Court­ney became a star on the strength of this per­for­mance. Michael Red­grave, by then a ven­er­a­ble icon, worked every scene with him in del­i­cate bal­ance. This film still has a high rep­u­ta­tion in the British cin­e­ma, and just­ly so.

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