The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner (PG)
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Time Out saysAlan Sillitoe's fiction fuelled the excellent Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, but this one started life as a short story and grew flabbier for the screen. Courtenay's Borstal boy is crabbed and corroded by class hatred, and his only moment of satisfaction comes when he throws a cross-country race against a local public school to spite the upper class Governor (Redgrave). Chariots of Bile. Even in this softened-up version, Time found the hero 'prolier-than-thou'. Most of the period hallmarks of the British New Wave are paraded here. The disaffected hero treats us to Hoggartian interior monologues and climbs the nearest hill so that we can see the hopeless urban sprawl - Nottingham, in this case - laid out like his future. He gets the obligatory lyrical day off, a bracing trip to Skegness. Courting couples snog beside the barbed wire, and there's no shortage of editing between lads being flogged and choirs singing 'Jerusalem'. The general thrust is that Britain provides no sustenance for the working class soul, and consumerism spearheaded by telly comes in for some stick. It all seems a long time ago.