11 February 2008 | barryrd
A landmark film
I recently viewed this film from 1959 and was totally riveted to it. It is a timeless love story set in post-war Britain with the incomparable Simone Signoret and Laurence Harvey at the centre of the storm. The background highlights the struggle between class and ambition in 1950's Britain. Laurence Harvey plays Joe Lampton, the "angry young man" who is motivated to make something of himself in a world that he is not comfortable with. Harvey portrays a new kid on the block who has taken a job at city hall, where he works with other young men like himself. He and his buddies remind us of randy high school students discovering the world and women all at once.
While Joe shows all the aptitudes necessary for advancement, he is a man of principle who inherits the hostility of the working class that flares up when provoked by snide remarks about where he came from. He has trouble playing the game but no trouble attracting the attention of the ladies. At first attracted to the daughter of a local tycoon, he knows that he is an outsider and seeks the advice and friendship of an older woman - the genuine and magnetic Signoret, who plays the lovelorn wife of a local businessman and philanderer. Over time, he falls deeply in love with the older woman and the time they spend alone provides some of the most compelling scenes you are likely to find in the cinema of the 1950's. After successfully wooing her, he runs headlong into the realities of life, leading to a gut-wrenching climax, which you won't forget.