A strange mixture of melodramatic union-bashing and sharp, penetrating observations on working-class life. The villains are phantoms of an ill-informed imagination, but Attenborough's lone-wolf worker, holding out against an unofficial strike, is vivid and well thought out. The realism of his life with fading Italian bride (Angeli) and womanising lodger (Craig) is superbly realised, and hardly seems to belong to the same film as the leering Teddy boys who act as union heavies and the steely-eyed agitator (Burke) whose machinations control the fate of the sheep-like workers. As Attenborough's jaunty individualism is transmuted into paranoid hysteria, the intrusion of tragic melodrama into what looked like a realist social problem film becomes more satisfying. With the villains scattered and the hero blinded for daring to take on the world single-handed, one emerges, like the workers, suitably chastened.
Cast and crew