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Film / Saturday Night and Sunday Morning

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Just going to kick one more bitch.

Saturday Night and Sunday Morning is a 1960 film directed by Karel Reisz, one of the first in the British New Wave/Kitchen Sink Drama movement. Writer Alan Sillitoe adapted the screenplay from his own 1958 novel.

Its main character is Arthur Seaton (Albert Finney), a blue-collar worker who is very successful at work and always eager to have rough fun during the weekend. He drinks and carries on an affair with Brenda (Rachel Roberts), the wife of his colleague from work. Then he sees Doreen (Shirley Anne Field), a girl who's prettier than anyone he's met before, who lives with her mother and wants to get married.

This film is acclaimed for having tackled the issues of extramarital sex and abortion in a relatively realistic manner.


  • The '50s: England has overcome WWII and the welfare of its citizens steadily increases.
  • Arch-Enemy: Mrs Bull for Arthur. Until the third act. Arthur's comeuppance does not come from her.
  • Anti-Hero: A mild example. Arthur is hard-working and brave. However he is not averse to deception and several times kicks various dogs. Luckily he is a complicated character.
  • Beta Couple: A very typical example are Bert, the cousin of Arthur, and Betty, a friend of Doreen. Bert's appearance is one of an everyman compared to Arthur's, while Betty is not as attractive as Doreen. Their romance is later dropped. Even in the penultimate scene when Arthur talks with Bert as they are fishing the conversation revolves around Arthur.
  • Blatant Lies: Arthur hits Mrs Bull with a pneumatic rifle from the window. Later when she comes to his apartment he threatens her with the same gun. Later still when she returns with a policeman he denies having any rifle at home. The policeman tells both sides not to cause any trouble and departs.
  • Commitment Issues: Invoked by Arthur but he overcomes them fairly easily so they appear more a self-informed thing. Doreen generally leads him wherever she wants. Of course she is very pretty for his working-class neighbourhood.
  • I Have This Friend: That's what Arthur tells Aunt Ada when he is about to ask her to help with Brenda's abortion. Of course, she does not believe Aruthur's story.
  • Kick the Dog: Several moments of this from Arthur.
    • He accidentally spills the beer on a man. When a woman reprimands him, he pours the bear on her intentionally.
    • He puts a dead rat on the workbench of a female worker.
    • His relationship with Mrs Bull is antagonistic and he purposefully bumps into her several time.
  • Let's Wait a While: Doreen invokes this to Arthur. Indeed they wait. They still have sex before being married. However it is implied that Arthur does not want to seek anyone else.
  • Made of Iron: Zigzagged as Arthur is nearly unharmed as he falls downs some stairs. Later, he is forced on bedrest after being beaten up by two soldiers.
  • Meaningful Name: Mrs Bull who is angry and obstinate.
  • Nostalgia Filter: Zigzagged as various characters mention how in the past (i.e. early war years) they lived better or worse than now in late 50's. Mostly they believe their living conditions have improved but some also have a good word for the past.
  • Off-into-the-Distance Ending: For Doreen and Arthur who go away toward the houses one of which might one day become their own.
  • Oop North: The film was shot in Leeds.
  • Pet the Dog: Arthur and his cousin, Bert, pass near a man who suddenly throws a stone at a shop window. He is promptly detained by two women from the neighbourhood including Mrs Bull whom Arthur hates. The man tells that he is aggrieved by the death of his wife three months ago. Arthur tries to make the women let him go partly out of pity, partly to spite his detested neighbour. The police arrive exactly when he succeeds to tear the man out of the hands of women, but the man is arrested anyway.
  • Pop Culture Osmosis: It is famous to some extent due to Arctic Monkeys and Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not.
  • Red Scare: Interestingly this trope appears here though without much consequence. The boss of Arthur is aware that someone among his workers is a communist and he suspects that it is Arthur. It is implied that a culprit will face grave consequences. Arthur flatly denies any adherence to leftist ideas. However, the bosses' intuition is correct. Arthur immediately confesses to Jack that he indeed voted for the communists on the latest election. This seems odd coming from him, as he is generally self-interested, materialistic and keen on pleasure and fun; however, he did it on a fit of class consciousness. It does not lead anywhere though. It is not even used by Jack against him later as he learns that Arthur was carrying it on with his wife.
  • Staircase Tumble: Arthur is flat-out drunk and falls down the stairs of a pub. He promptly laughs it off.
  • Working-Class Hero: Arthur is of course an Anti-Hero.