The less serious side of Arthur is often apparent, as such his times when he goes fishing with his mate Bert, and his ongoing aggravation of the local busybody 'Old Ma Bull', which leads to him shooting her in the backside on one occasion!
A year later, Alan had written the screenplay which would be filmed in 1960. Harry Saltzman (the producer famous for the James Bond films) had started the film company Woodfall Productions in the mid-1950s, making 'social realism' films like The Iron Petticoat (1956) and Look Back in Anger (1959) directed by Tony Richardson. With Tony Richardson opting to co-produce Saturday Night and Sunday Morning with Salzman, the young Czech-born film maker Karel Reisz (1926-2002)
The most shocking aspect of the film would turn out to be its portrayal of abortion, an issue which inflamed public opinion at the time. Although the film was X-rated in Britain, it ran into problems when released - it was banned for obscenity in Warwickshire, and in Nottingham it incurred the wrath of John Cordeaux, the Tory MP for Nottingham Central, who denounced it as a "foul libel on the respectful, clean-living people of Nottingham". In America the film ran into problems with the 'Catholic Legion of Decency' which refused it a certificate because it was felt that Arthur was insufficiently punished for his sexual misdemeanours!
The Sillitoe family home at No. 5 Beaconsfield Terrace (then occupied by Alan's widowed mother Sylvina) was used as a main location, whilst No.1 Willoughby Street (also lived in by other members of the Sillitoe family) was used as Aunt Ada's house. Other Nottingham locations included the Castle, theottinthecan
All the inside work was filmed at Twickenham Studios, where exact replicas of the interiors of No.1 Willoughby Street and No.5 Beaconsfield Terrace were recreated forth
When I met Michael Sillitoe, he told me that the set of Aunt Ada's house was uncannily identical with ther
Saturday Night and Sunday Morning was Albert Finney's first major film role, and he brilliantly captured
Alan Sillitoe's first novel Saturday Night and Sunday Morning began life as a short story, written in 1954, called Once in a Weekend. Its location was The Whitehorse
White Horse pub in Radford, Nottingham, just round the corner from where the author lived at No. 5 Beaconsfield Terrace, off Salisbury Street. It tells of a young Nottingham factory worker who, a
who, after enjoying himself in the pub on Saturday night, wakes up on Sunday morning in bed with his absent workmate's wife. The story began, "with eleven pints of beer and seven small gins inside him, Arthur fell from the top of the stairs to the bottom." It was, however, rejected by many magazines, but later became the first chapter of the novel Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, which was written, as Alan says, "in the autumn of 1956, sitting under an orange tree". Eventually published in October 1958 by W H Allen, it immediately became a critical and commercial success, and was voted the 'Best Novel of the Year' by the Observer.
Outside The White Horse pub in Radford, Nottingham
The main character is Arthur Seaton who works hard in a Nottingham engineering factory, but has a belligerent attitude towards authority - "Don't let the bastards grind you down." He is contemptuous of his fellow workers who just accept their fate without protest. He channels his aggression into drinking contests at the local pub - "All I want is a good time, hesays
No.5 Beaconsfield Terrace
time," he says, "the rest is propoganda." In typical fashion, Arthur finds that retribution comes to him the hard way! He has an affair withBrenda
with Brenda, a workmate's wife, but she becomes pregnant and he has to try to arrange a 'back street abortion' courtesy of his Aunt Ada. Brenda's husband Jack suspects what has been going on and Arthur receives retribution in the form of a severe beating from the flailing fists of Jack's soldier brothers, home on leave. Arthur however, also finds himself smitten with the attractive, but seemingly indifferent Doreen, and it is with her that his long-term happiness would appear to lie.
Salisbury Street as it appears in the film - Beaconsfield Terrace is to the left of the lamp post
Saturday Night and Sunday Morning was Reisz's feature film debut, and was ground-breaking in many ways. Never before had film audiences been expected to sit back and watch the unsavoury exploits of a northern factory worker, who drank himself silly and slept with two women without caring much about either of them! But it worked, and beat box office records for a British film, as well as winning three BAFTAs. Previously, Reisz had only made documentaries, but it was precisely this aspect of bringing 'documentary realism' to a film about working class life, that made the film so successful. The black & white filming under the expert control of Freddie Francis (1917-2007), also contributed greatly to the film's impact.
2002) was appointed as director.
Karel Reisz with Shirley Anne Field
Albert Finney, Shirley Anne Field, Louise Dunn & Norman Rossington in
Nottingham's rain-soaked Old Market Square on Sunday 3rd April 1960.
The weather prevented the scheduled filming from taking place.
Albert Finney starred as Arthur Seaton and Shirley Anne Field as Doreen, with other leading roles taken by Brian Pringle (Jack), Rachel Roberts (Brenda), Norman Rossington (Bert) and Hylda Baker (Aunt Ada). Filming was scheduled to take place at various locations in Nottingham between 3rd and 10th April 1960, with over 50 extras standing by to take parttttttttttttttttttttttttttttt
I am on the right-hand lion outside Nottingham's Council House - just like
Norman Rossington was, 50 years earlier!
Filming scenes at the rear of Beaconsfield Terrace as viewed from Salisbury Street
Raleigh Welfare in Saturday Night and Sunday Morning
the canal at Lenton Lane, Norton Street and the Raleigh cycle factory, renamed Trentside Engineering Company for the film. Raleigh's Welfare building at the end of Old Coach Road was also used. In the film it has IWC (standing for 'Ironside Welfare Club') in lights over the door. Not all of the location
location filming took place in Nottingham. Two of the scenes - one where a drunken man breaks a shop window, and the otherw
other where Arthur is beaten up by the soldiers - were filmed in Battersea, outside 'The British Flag' pub there. This has prompted many people to wonder where in Nottingham this pub can be found! Other locations used include the Grand Union Canalat
Final scene from the film showing the Simms, Sons and
Cooke builders' sign
Karel Reisz directs the filming of the fishing scenes at Greenford
for the film. Another studio set copied the interior of The Eight Bells pub on Nottingham's St Peter's Street, and this set was used for the scene where Arthur first meets Doreen. Yet another set was used for The White Horse pub where the drinking contest takes place, and Arthur (or rather Albert Finney's stunt double) tumbles down the stairs. All of the still photography for the publicity material, posters, lobby cards etc was also produced at Twickenham Studios.
Studio set - 5 Beaconsfield Terrace
Studio set - The Eight Bells pub
Studio set - The White Horse (with stunt double)
Studio set - 1 Willoughby Street
the room in the actual house. Great care had been taken to get every detail right. He also told me about the 'jam sessions' he had with Johnny
Barry Mason (vocals) & Michael Sillitoe (drums)
Rachel Roberts (who only got the part because Diana Dors turned it down!) played the hapless Brenda. Going from romantic infatuation to fear and anger at being abandoned by Arthur, her superb performance won her the BAFTA Film Award for 'Best British Actress'. The film had its Premiere at the Odeon, Leicester Square, on 26th October 1960.
captured Arthur Seaton the rebellious factory worker, and it won him the BAFTA Film Award for 'Most Promising Newcomer to Leading Film Roles' in England. It isin
Johnny Dankworth's band when they were recording the music for the film. Michael is now a teacher of percussion, but in 1960, he was a budding drummer and had a small part in the flim where, whilst the drinking competition is taking place, he is playing the drums whilst songwriter Barry Mason (famous for songs like Delilah, The Last Waltz and A Man Without Love) sings the Adam Faith 1959 hit What Do You Want?
is interesting to note that that the executive producer Harry Saltzman wanted Peter O'Toole for the part. Alan Sillitoe, however, thought that Finney was absolutely perfect in the role.
Rachel Roberts, Shirley Anne Field & Alan Sillitoe at the film Premiere of
Saturday Night and Sunday Morning
Alan Sillitoe reveals the outcome in a later novel Birthday, published in 2002. Arthur and Doreen lived with her mother at first before they got a council house. They had a son, Harold (who became a society 'dropout') and a daughter Melanie. Arthur was divorced by Doreen after ten years of marriage. "He got home from the factory, knackered after an eight-hour stint, the sweat barely dried, and she came out with it before he was halfway through the doorway: "I'm leaving you. I've had enough. I can't stand any more. The life we lead is no good. I'm too fed up for it to go on." Many years later, Arthur meets his daughter again, along with his two grandchildren. Melanie encourages her children to, "kiss Arthur and call him grandad, trying mischievously to embarrass him, but he enjoyed it, kissed them back and gave each a pound coin". Doreen, it transpires, remarried, was widowed, and now 'runs a pub with a woman in Bedford'.
Saturday Night and Sunday Morning
Film poster for
part. However, bad weather on 3rd April meant that some scenes due to be shot in theoldmarket MarketSquar
the Old Market Square had to be cancelled. Instead, they used the time to shoot the scene with Arthur and Doreen at the Savoy cinema onderby
on Derby Road, along with the scene in the sweet shop on Salisbury Street where Arthur insults Ma Bull.
Canal, Greenford for the fishing scenes, and Barn Hill, Wembley for the closing moments of the film where Arthur throws a stone at a house builders' sign. This sign was supplied by the Nottingham building firm of Messrs. Simms, Sons and Cooke which sent it, along with a site hut and other equipment, so that the Wembley building site would look like one in Nottingham.