Tony Richardson, who staged the play, Look Back in Anger, which helped to hoist John Osborne into the bigtime, tackles the same subject as his first directorial chore. Richardson’s is a technical triumph, but somewhere along the line he has lost the heart and the throb that made the play an adventure. The film simultaneously impresses and depresses.
In the play, Jimmy Porter was a rebel – but a mixed-up weakling of a rebel. In the film, as played by Richard Burton, he is an arrogant young man who thinks the world owes him something but cannot make up his mind what it is – and certainly doesn’t deserve the handout.
Burton glowers sullenly, violently and well as Porter and it is not his fault that the role gives him little opportunity for variety. Mary Ure (repeating her London & Broadway stage role) as the downtrodden, degraded young wife is first-class. Claire Bloom plays the ‘other woman’ with a neat variation of bite and comehitherness. Gary Raymond makes an instant impact as the cosy, kindly friend of the unhappy couple.