Review: ‘Looks and Smiles’

Ken Loach's Looks and Smiles is a somber but dramatically right tale of teenagers running into unemployment and broken families in a northern industrial town. The three protagonists are played by non-pros, and very well too.

Ken Loach’s Looks and Smiles is a somber but dramatically right tale of teenagers running into unemployment and broken families in a northern industrial town. The three protagonists are played by non-pros, and very well too.

Mick, played like a young James Cagney by Graham Green, cannot find a mechanical job he covets and spends his time getting into fights. He meets Karen (Carolyn Nicholson) and something develops, but is stymied by his love for soccer, his joblessness and own problems of divorced parents. Mick’s friend, Alan (Tony Pitts), joins the army and gets sent to Ireland and come home at times with gory tales.

The film certainly has a feel for its characters, and place, helped by a sharply dramatic use of b&w lensing which fits the milieu and theme.

Looks and Smiles

UK

Production

Black Lion/Kestrel/MK2. Director Ken Loach; Producer Irving Teitelbaum; Screenplay Barry Hines; Camera Chris Menges; Art Director Martin Johnson

Crew

(B&W) Extract of a review from 1983. Running time: 104 MIN.

With

Graham Green Carolyn Nicholson Tony Pitts Phil Askham Cilla Mason Arthur Davies
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