All that glitters: The early film career of John Schlesinger
Abstract:This article argues the progress of John Schlesinger (1926–2003) as a film artist, up to and including The Day of the Locust (1975), was dependent on whether he was willing to settle for surfaces or whether he would insist on an inner rationale and validity for his work: whether he would build upward from the most stringent perceptions towards a virtuoso display of them, or begin at the top with slickness and add just enough clever dialogue and facilely bitter comment to provide marketable Weltschmerz for popular audiences worldwide. In the end, Schlesinger settled for surfaces – sometimes far less – in a career that, by the time of Yanks (1979) and Honky Tonk Freeway (1981), could only descend from so much slickness into lamentable sorriness. By considering this British director's first three, and best, films – A Kind of Loving (Schlesinger, 1962), Billy Liar (Schlesinger, 1963) and Darling (Schlesinger, 1965) – I propose to demonstrate how each of this trio of works holds both the promise of cinematic growth and the prospect of directorial delinquency into which Schlesinger would ultimately decline.
Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: Izmir University of Economics
Publication date: July 12, 2012
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