A KIND OF LOVING [1962 / 2016] [Blu-ray] [UK Release]
A Kind of Loving That They Knew No Wrong Until It Was Too Late!
1962 acclaimed “Kitchen Sink” drama; ‘A KIND OF LOVING’ was adapted from the Stan Barstow Novel of the same name. Directed by John Schlesinger [‘Darling’ and ‘Midnight Cowboy’], the film stars Alan Bates as Vic Brown, a young draughtsman, whose search for love leads to Ingrid Rothwell [June Ritchie] in her screen debut, who is an employee in the same company. Ingrid Rothwell quickly falls in love with Vic Brown, only to find herself falling pregnant and Vic Brown reluctantly agrees to marry her. Finding himself forced into a life he never wanted, Vic Brown resents Ingrid Rothwell and the position he finds himself in. Ingrid Rothwell ends up losing the baby and Vic Brown, spurred on by the acid tongue remarks of his sour mother-in-law Mrs. Rothwell [Thora Hird] both decides to run away.
FILM FACT No.1: Awards and Nominations: 1962 Berlin International Film Festival: Win: Golden Berlin Bear Award for John Schlesinger. 1963 BAFTA Film Awards: Nominated: Best British Actor for Alan Bates. Nominated: Best British Film. Nominated: Best British Screenplay for Keith Waterhouse and Willis Hall. Nominated: Best Film from any Source.
FILM FACT No.2: The film ‘A KIND OF LOVING’ belongs to the British New Wave movement in film, and the related genre commonly known as "kitchen sink drama". The novel was later turned into a 1982 television series “A Kind of Loving.” Filming locations included the towns of Preston, Blackburn, Bolton, Salford, Manchester, Radcliffe and St Anne's-on-sea in the northwest of England. It was the sixth most popular film at the British box office in 1962.
Cast: Alan Bates, Thora Hird, Bert Palmer, Pat Keen, James Bolam, Jack Smethurst, Gwen Nelson, John Ronane, David Mahlowe, Patsy Rowlands, Michael Deacon, Annette Robertson, Fred Ferris, Leonard Rossiter, Malcolm Patton, Harry Markham, Peter Madden, June Ritchie, Yvonne Buckingham (uncredited), David Cook (uncredited), Jerry Desmonde (uncredited), Helen Fraser (uncredited), Joe Gladwin (uncredited), Reginald Green (uncredited), Norman Heyes (uncredited), Douglas Livingstone (uncredited), Bryan Mosley (uncredited), Ruth Porcher (uncredited), Bud Ralston (uncredited), Edna Ridgway (uncredited), Graham Rigby (uncredited), Kathy Staff (uncredited), Kathleen Walker (uncredited) and Fred Wood (uncredited)
Director: John Schlesinger
Producers: Jack Hanbury and Joseph Janni
Screenplay: Keith Waterhouse, Willis Hall and Stan Barstow (adapted from the novel)
Composer: Ron Grainer
Cinematography: Denys Coop, B.S.C. (Director of Photography)
Image Resolution: 1080p (Black-and-White)
Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
Audio: English: 2.0 LPCM Mono Audio
English: 2.0 Dolby Digital Stereo Audio
Subtitles: English SDH
Running Time: 113 minutes
Region: Region B/2
Number of discs: 1
Studio: Anglo-Amalgamated Governor Films / STUDIOCANAL
Andrew’s Blu-ray Review: This John Schlesinger's “kitchen sink drama” debut film, ‘A KIND OF LOVING’  share a rueful, even wistful quality, not immediately apparent because of the scorching impatience in the surprisingly subtle performance of Alan Bates where he plays Vic Brown, a young draftsman in a Manchester factory who has caught his boss's eye and has reason, who becomes involved with secretary Ingrid Rothwell [June Ritchie], who works at the same engineering firm situated in bleak northern England. As the first member of his working class family to land a white-collar job; Vic Brown believes he's going places and he articulates his dream of travelling en route up the economic and social ladders. Things get complicated, though, when he falls for June Ritchie's typist, who is yieldingly sweet but beneath whose blond bouffant hairdo not much is going on apart from gossip, movies, and starting to think about how she'd like to decorate the flat she sees herself moving to away from her mother's baleful eye. The film reveals a little more about the everyday working lives of the employees at the Mullard factory and gives a fascinating snapshot of what life must have been like in the early 1960s in Great Britain.
There is a great tenderness about ‘A KIND OF LOVING’ which you do not find in the more abrasive "kitchen sink dramas" type film of the 1960s period. Vic Brown is not a rebel like Arthur Seton in the film ‘Saturday Night, Sunday Morning’ or a macho hunk like Richard Harris's rugby-league player in ‘This Sporting Life.’ He is a likable, easy going young man who soon discovers that real-life love affairs are infinitely messier than he and his mates could ever have imagined. The acute, witty screenplay, adapted by Willis Hall and Keith Waterhouse from Stan Barstow's novel, shows how limited Vic Brown and Ingrid Rothwell's choices really are and the only place for them to stay is chez Rothwell. They have no privacy or independence. Bounced into a marriage that neither necessarily wants, their romance quickly sours. Mrs. Rothwell [Thora Hird] is truly the mother-in-law from Hell who is also a right busybody and a tyrant. Look out for the Queen Victoria like expression on her face when a drunken Vic Brown throws up in her front room following a drunken spree. Vic Brown storms out of the house and turns to his happily-married sister for comfort. Instead she rebukes him for not living up to his responsibilities, and he returns to Ingrid Rothwell. Now willing to look at his life in a more mature manner, he persuades Ingrid Rothwell to leave her interfering mother and help him find a home of their own. Perhaps with cooperation and compromise, they will be able to attain "a kind of loving" eventually.
Debut feature film for director John Schlesinger captures the humour and the pathos in the young lover’s plight without ever making fun of them. ‘A KIND OF LOVING’ which is set in a Midlands environment similar to that of the previous film ‘Saturday Night, Sunday Morning’ in this case, where we find the working-class areas of industrial Manchester. Its characters, again, are poor young people trying to find and adjust their appetites, which is mainly physical, emotional in there limited circumstances of their lives. And the style is again naturalistic, with the aspects of the middle social class conveyed in incisive portrayals and in graphic and beautiful black-and-white photography, and it is not until the director John Schlesinger gets them to that inevitable point of deciding to go all out in their intimate lovemaking that the drama really picks up speed and develops an emotional intensity, which it increases right to the very end. For it is at this point that June Ritchie and Alan Bates actually hit their strides in displaying the inharmonious paces of young folks drawn and torn by lust and love.
No matter that the pattern of their experience it is an old familiar one, marked by the twists of an initial and darkly resented of the pregnancy, a shotgun marriage and the wrenching vexations of a biting mother-in-law. The actors are led throughout the film with the confidence of director John Schlesinger and displaying their conventional reactions with warmth, sensitivity and force. While a great deal of truthfulness and candour are put forth in these deliberate scenes of physical and emotional conflict. It has a strong sense of seriousness and pathos runs all the way through the film. And the sobering notion that young people must be prepared to accept responsibilities when they start playing seriously with romance is the evolving theme. Wonderfully filmed by Denys Coop who worked on several of these “kitchen sink dramas” that graced our cinemas in the period over the decade of the 1960s. This film is does give an accurate insight into how life was for many working class families up North during that era. We get really solid performances from the cast from both the male and female leads playing characters much younger than the actor’s actual age.
Alan Bates, who played the fugitive murderer in ‘Whistle Down the Wind,’ projects a moving impression of a cheeky, clumsy, crude, confused young man, and June Ritchie is heart-breaking as the hopeful, helpless girl, who is hoping for something special in her drab life. Thora Hird as her mother who is a tangle of uptight Victorian attitude with raw nerves, and Bert Palmer and Gwen Nelson are shrewd and homely as the working-class parents of the young man. Faithful and flavoursome performances of Midland type scenario are delivered by a score of other supporting players.
Drawing upon Sam Barstow's novel, with a screenplay by Keith Waterhouse and Willis Hall, John Schlesinger obviously gave careful thought to choosing his settings. Manchester and its oft-gritty environs are a presence in the drama, not mere backdrops. It's hard to tell where the ingrained soot leaves off and the bricks begin in the rows of cramped houses. It's an environment designed to squeeze the soul out of one. In contrast to the mean, pinched houses and improvised football patches on cracked pavement are the towering smokestacks and cooling towers of what seems ever more oppressively an industrial gulag. There's an irony here, while you can see what any dweller there would want to escape, they also were aware of the imminent Welfare State that would bulldoze many of the cramped dirty little houses and better the lot of Mancunians. Still, until that flowering, Vic Brown is stuck in the tiny rooms he shares with his mother, father, older sister and two younger brothers, where no surface is undecorated in an anthology of kitsch and which the sister escapes when we see her posing for post-marriage photos on the steps of the blackened church entrance.
The film ‘A KIND OF LOVING’ is interesting as an illustration of newfound working class affluence and aspirations. It is revealing about the tiny gradations within the English class system: Ingrid and her mum look down on Vic Brown's family for his father's manual work and 'old-fashioned' pursuits, like the brass band. Their “modern” appliances and entertainments, stressing individual achievement over collective struggle are, in their minds, superior. Vic Brown sees a way out of small town life through education and career, only to see hopes dashed through social expectation and moral responsibilities. There are tensions between desire, responsibility and social acceptance that are not easily resolved. While the moral climate it depicts has largely changed, ‘A KIND OF LOVING’ remains an interesting and rewarding film of life in the 1960s period, which dares to accept that there are not necessarily any easy answers to the questions it poses. ‘A KIND OF LOVING’ is a really loving, kind and a very touching film of its period that has now been brought to a wider audience with the release of this stunning Blu-ray disc. If you enjoy the “kitchen sink dramas” of the 1960s period, then I recommend this Blu-ray release to you.
WARNING: For people who have never seen this film before, it sort of finishes without warning and then the screen goes blank and the Ron Grainer film’s end music score plays out for about a minute and then stops, because as usually with all other films you always get all the screen credits at the end, but obviously the director John Schlesinger decided to be different.
Blu-ray Image Quality – STUDIOCANAL presents us another classic British film is a high quality 1080p black-and-white image and is complimented with a brilliant 1.66:1 aspect ratio. The film has also been restored in 2K and looks absolutely magnificent in high-definition. The precise image detail and clarity are indeed quite spectacular. I was particularly impressed with the all-around balanced appearance of the 1962 film experience of that period in time. What is also impressive is the night time footage of the visuals are quite magnificent and gives a totally new viewing experience, especially with the contrast, brightness, and black-and-white grading balance could not be any more impressive for the age of the film, especially as there absolutely no traces of problematic grain or sharpening adjustments. Overall image stability is excellent and there is no distracting large debris, cuts, damage marks, stains, or torn frames to report with this review. Please Note: Playback Region B/2: This will not play on most Blu-ray players sold in North America, Central America, South America, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Southeast Asia. Learn more about Blu-ray region specifications.
Blu-ray Audio Quality – STUDIOCANAL brings us the only audio presentation of 2.0 LPCM Mono Audio experience. It is quite obvious that there has be substantial extensive specific work has been done to remove hiss, hum and other age-related imperfections because the audio experience is very clean and stable. Ambience depth is excellent for a 1962 film that gives its audio dynamic is modest, but this should not be surprising either. There are no audio dropouts or digital distortions to report and again an impressive professional job well done by STUDIOCANAL.
Blu-ray Special Features and Extras:
Special Feature: ‘A KIND OF LOVING’ & The British New Wave  [1080p] [1.78:1] [10:51] This special feature includes interviews with Melanie Williams Reader of Film and Television Studies at the University of East Anglia and John Hill who is Professor of Media Studies of the Royal Holloway at the University of London talk extensively about The British New Wave films that swept the United Kingdom during the decade of the 1960s and the effect it had on the British psyche at the time and also talks extensively especially about the film ‘A KIND OF LOVING’ and the director John Schlesinger who set the high standards of filmmaking at the time. The British New Wave is the name given to a trend in filmmaking among directors in Britain in the late 1950s through the late 1960s. The label is a translation of Nouvelle Vague, the French term first applied to the films of François Truffaut, and Jean-Luc Godard among others. There is considerable overlap between the “New Wave” and the “Angry Young Men,” and those artists in British theatre and film such as playwright John Osborne and director Tony Richardson, who challenged the social status quo. Their work drew attention to the reality of life for the working classes, especially in the North of England, often characterized as "It's grim up north." This particular type of drama, centred on class and the nitty-gritty of day-to-day life, was also known as the “kitchen sink drama.” The British New Wave was characterised by many of the same stylistic and thematic conventions as the French New Wave. Usually in black-and-white, these films had a spontaneous quality, often shot in a pseudo-documentary or cinéma vérité style on real locations and with real people rather than extras, apparently capturing life as it happens. Many of the films have two main themes in common: class and its restrictions, and unwanted or at least inconvenient pregnancies. ‘A KIND OF LOVING’ features both themes, and in this sequence the tensions in Vic and Ingrid’s marriage start to surface, especially under the baleful watch of Ingrid's mother played by the brilliant actress Thora Hird. The later films concentrated on conflicts within the working-class contrasting 'rough' and the very poor, unskilled, criminal and hedonistic all represented by characters in films like ‘Saturday Night and Sunday Morning’ , ‘The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner’  and with so called respectable skilled, aspirational, educated and moral high ground such as the heroes of John Schlesinger's films: ‘A Kind of Loving’  and ‘Billy Liar’ . The impact of these films has been debated endlessly over the years, and whilst their influence has probably been over-emphasised and when all's said and done, they amount to no more than 10 films at most over a period of 4 years and I do not agree when they say their impact or influence is sometimes now regarded as negligible. One of the things I love about these films is that they put centre stage, that was previously excluded or marginalised groups of people, especially with working class men and women, Northerners, blacks, gays, lesbians, and single mothers in a way which simply didn't happen before, and I don't think that should be overlooked or ignored. And I still love watching them as they are great films to watch time after time, as at the time they made British films such a massive influence to all budding filmmakers.
Special Feature: Excerpts from NFT Interview with John Schlesinger [Audio Only]  [1080p] [1.78:1] [20:59] John Richard Schlesinger, film director: born in London on the 16th February, 1926; CBE 1970; died Palm Springs, California on the 25th July, 2003. With the start of this interview the sound recording is totally abysmal and goes up and down like a yoyo. What you also get throughout the interview is stunning black-and-white images on location with the film ‘Billy Liar.’ One of Britain's new wave of directors in the Sixties who brought a fresh approach and contemporary viewpoint to their films, John Schlesinger was among the most successful. He won an Academy Award® for his direction of ‘Midnight Cowboy’ , and his other hits included ‘Darling,’ ‘Sunday Bloody Sunday,’ ‘The Marathon Man’ and ‘Yanks.’ John Schlesinger talks about his handling of actors, who always received particular praise and such performers as Dustin Hoffman, Julie Christie, Glenda Jackson and Alan Bates are among those who did some of their finest work for him. He also directed occasionally in the theatre and opera house, and did some notable work for television and definitely his acclaimed television film ‘An Englishman Abroad’ was described by the critic Pauline Kael as "the best hour's television I've ever seen," which I totally agree 100%. John Schlesinger recalled, "I suggested a 'Day in the Life' kind of thing, which became Terminus." A 45-minute documentary that captured the daily drama of Waterloo Station during a 24-hour period, TERMINUS attracted a lot of attention and won first prize at the 1961 Venice Film Festival. "I remember the critics here in England being quite snide about it," said John Schlesinger, "particularly after it won the Golden Lion at Venice, but I'm used to that from British film critics." John Schlesinger talks about meeting the Italian producer Joseph Janni, who was working for the Rank Organisation, and was among those who were very impressed by TERMINUS, and that is why eventually he hired John Schlesinger to make some commercials and then his first feature film, ‘A Kind of Loving.’ John Schlesinger also talks about the actress Julie Christie who was the star of the film ‘Darling’  that was one of the director's most lauded, and also denigrated, films ever. Co-starring Dirk Bogarde and Laurence Harvey, its cynical account of a superficial and selfish model who sleeps her way up the social ladder found a particular response in America, where it was considered a vividly accurate and daring depiction of "Swinging London," and where John Schlesinger himself later stated, the film ‘Darling’ is probably one of my least favourite films, heaped with honours though I think it's a very dated film now, but relevant of its time when it was released in the cinema. The British critics, who were very unpleasant about it, were probably right. So all in all, despite this being very shy of 21 minutes, it packed in a lot of interesting insight into the director John Schlesinger and hearing his very funny anecdotes. Unfortunately we do not find out who was doing the interview.
Special Feature: TERMINUS  [1080p] [1.33:1] [33:50] This is a totally brilliant Award-winning outstanding "fly on the wall" film about a day in the life of Waterloo Station and directed by John Schlesinger. ‘TERMINUS’ was a 1961 British Transport Film documentary that was actually filmed in August, 1960 and where directed John Schlesinger presents a "fly-on-the-wall" look at an ordinary day at Waterloo Station in London. Along with most British Transport Films, it was produced by Edgar Anstey. It won a BAFTA® Film Award for Best Short Film Documentary and, for a time, nearly got an Academy Award® for Best Documentary Feature before being disqualified after it was discovered that the film was first released prior to the eligibility period. Original music was by Ron Grainer. Many of the "reportage" shots were actually staged. John Schlesinger makes a cameo appearance as a passing, umbrella-carrying business man and one of the main characters in the film, the classic scene of a tearful and apparently lost five-year-old, Matthew Perry, who was abandoned deliberately by his mother Margaret, an actress relative of John Schlesinger. Other characters, including handcuffed convicts and a confused elderly woman, were actors. John Schlesinger's short reveals how democratising railways were. In 1961, everybody used the train; in a single day, the film catches vignettes from childhood, marriage, work, crime and punishment, old age, death. One could go practically anywhere by train, and Schlesinger knew that, as he so movingly showed in ‘Billy Liar’ , to get on a train could change your life. Only two years before Dr. Beeching's did his severe nasty cuts, where one might expect a service very shortly to be decimated to look run down, but the station is alive, and vital. There is an obvious pride in the railway which is etched on many of the characters' faces. But what of the people in TERMINUS, are they really us, with their suits, hats and pointy glasses perhaps now seem strange and unfamiliar. But the class divisions of British Rail trains are not so very different from today and even though the three classes of travel became two after nationalisation in 1948. The boat trains and beautiful Pullman carriages are now replaced by the Eurostar. Much is enlivened by Ron Grainer's dramatic yet somehow never inappropriate composed film music score for TERMINUS easily rises above the bulk of location-based documentary made in the period. In a decade obsessed with recording the processes of industry, its uses its setting to explore the behaviour of humans in that system and to identify the humanity in the midst of the mechanical. At first it's observed as if from the crowd, but gradually John Schlesinger's camera pulls back, letting us see the patterns hidden by all that individuality. What seemed chaotic at close quarters now looks graceful and orderly as like an ants nest or a flock of birds, but never collide. We get glimpses of individual stories but the focus is on the whole. An interesting curiosity for fans of John Schlesinger's dramatic work, this documentary film plays upon many of the same themes. It's also an intriguing piece in its own right and, for those with an interest in 20th century history, and is well worth purchasing this Blu-ray disc to view this classic and brilliant documentary on the activities of people using Waterloo Station. Director: John Schlesinger. Producer: Edgar Anstey. Screenplay: John Schlesinger. Composer: Ron Grainer. Cinematography: Kenneth Higgins.
Special Feature: Interview with broadcaster/author Stuart Maconie  [1080p] [1.78:1] [18:48] Stuart Maconie is the author of “Cider With Roadies,” “Pies and Prejudice: In Search of the North,” “Adventures on the High Teas: In Search of Middle England” and “Never Mind the Quantocks.” With this brand new video interview, broadcaster and author Stuart Maconie discusses the role of the working-class people from up North and the culture they had in those films from The British New Wave movement, as well the dilemmas the two protagonists in the film ‘A Kind of Loving’ faced. This special feature was recorded in Manchester at the studio called Jollywood, and was studio was built within an old Wesleyan Church and gained the nickname Jollywood and this studio led to the creation of the first Manchester made feature film called ‘Cup-Tie Honeymoon’ in 1948. Stuart informs us that hey made silly light hearted comedies about working class people, where they got up to silly japes and famous character actors like Gracie Fields and George Formby who tended to get their on back on the bosses they worked for or any kind of establishment, by becoming wise cracking fools. Stuart also talks about his personal life when he was growing up, where life was very grim and where everything was run down, compared to the South of England that had climbed out of the gloom after the Second World War and says that at the start of the 1990s this is when the North started to emerge into the 21st Century to much brighter future. Stuart also talks in glowing praise for the director John Schlesinger in how he captured the magic of the Northern landscape and also talks about his three favourite scenes in the film ‘A KIND OF LOVING.’ Stuart also talks about the basic premise of “The British New Wave” films, in that it is all about Sex and Class are at the heart of the two big engines that drive the narrative of these types of films and also the turbine of energy of these films. Stuart points out those groups like The Beatles and the Smiths would never have happened if it had not been for The British New Wave films and the lyrics of one of the Smiths album “Louder than Bombs” that was inspired by the book “A Taste of Honey,” because Morrissey had a passion for the writer Shelagh Delaney as gave it something of a second life on Smiths records, where Morrissey took numerous lines from the play, including, "I dreamt about you last night and I fell out of bed twice" on "Reel Around The Fountain," "Hand in Glove," "This Charming Man" and "This Night Has Opened My Eyes" also Shelagh Delaney was featured on the cover of the Smiths 1987 album “Louder than Bombs.” So ends a really interesting and insightful point of view from Stuart Maconie about all aspects of the Northern landscape in that particular decade and its influences in that period relating to “The British New Wave” films. The interview was conducted exclusively for STUDIOCANAL.
Finally, ‘A KIND OF LOVING’ is an escape to a gratifyingly simpler life and times of the 1990s period. A time when half a pint of bitter only cost half a shilling (2.5 pence in today’s UK money), it wasn’t then illegal to smoke indoors, cinemas were jam-packed with eager beavers and World War II was now a generation ago. Despite the bleak turn of events, there is natural humour and warmth to be found in relations between all the characters. And above all else, there is a strong sense of human resilience and time healing things naturally. These so-called tragedies are part and parcel of life, and ‘A KIND OF LOVING’ was one of the first really masterful British films to say this. At a time when division is rife in the UK in the 1960s period, it is apt to revisit this brilliant home-grown movement that reiterated the nature of this film that was made by and for the people. It reminds us, with its built-in UK class tensions, that equality en masse is still very much a work in progress. It reinforces our domestic tendencies, and brings us back to the reality that everything will not always go according to plan. But ultimately, the experience of watching ‘A KIND OF LOVING’ is one of comfort in the recognition of the early patterns that defined our social film movement that filmmakers today are still building on to incite change. What this all boils down to is that ‘A KIND OF LOVING’ probably is really enjoyable for those who watch and find themselves reminiscing as to how things were for an older generation. But whilst this is a beautiful piece of black-and-white filmmaking, it will probably not work so well for newer younger audiences who stumble across especially after the initial observational humour, but it makes up for it, especially featuring some wonderful performances and both Alan Bates and June Ritchie play their parts well. Highly Recommended!
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