Billy Liar (Schlesinger, 1963): British Library, Euston Rd, N1, 6pm
This film is scheduled for a 50th anniversary Blu-ray release in May and tonight's screening will be introduced by script writer Keith Waterhouse's friend Michael Parkinson.
Time Out review:
Released in the wake of the early social realist films of Karel Reisz
and Tony Richardson, Schlesinger’s physical world is the same – northern
and working-class – but his approach to social commentary and
storytelling, as adapted from Keith Waterhouse and Willis Hall’s
book and play, is more playful and less concerned with realism than
films like ‘Taste of Honey’ and ‘Saturday Night, Sunday Morning’.
Schlesinger’s Billy (Tom Courtenay)
is a confused young man with too much imagination for considering
kitchen sinks: nominally he’s an undertaker’s clerk, but his real job is
to carve a parallel, fantasy world for himself, whether leading men to
war in a state called Ambrosia or forging himself a career in showbiz.
Billy’s endless lies feel less like deceptions and more like an
expression of the conflicts within a young man who’s uneasy in a
fast-changing world. Funny and unexpectedly poignant.
Here's my favourite scene. Courtenay rehearses his resignation ahead of the arrival of employer Emmanuel Shadrack (Leonard Rossiter)