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Billy Liar

  • Film
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Time Out Says

4 out of 5 stars
You can catch John Schlesinger’s quick-fire satire of post-war British values for one day (Tue August 14) as part of the ongoing ‘Summer of British Film’ series. Released in the wake of the early social realist films of Karel Reisz and Tony Richardson, Schlesinger’s physical world is the same – northern and working-class – but his approach to social commentary and storytelling, as adapted from Keith Waterhouse and Willis Hall’s book and play, is more playful and less concerned with realism than films like ‘Taste of Honey’ and ‘Saturday Night, Sunday Morning’. Schlesinger’s Billy (Tom Courtenay) is a confused young man with too much imagination for considering kitchen sinks: nominally he’s an undertaker’s clerk, but his real job is to carve a parallel, fantasy world for himself, whether leading men to war in a state called Ambrosia or forging himself a career in showbiz. Billy’s endless lies feel less like deceptions and more like an expression of the conflicts within a young man who’s uneasy in a fast-changing world. Funny and unexpectedly poignant.
Written by Dave Calhoun

Release Details

  • Rated:PG
  • Release date:Tuesday 14 August 2007
  • Duration:94 mins

Cast and Crew

  • Director:John Schlesinger
  • Screenwriter:Keith Waterhouse, Willis Hall
  • Cast:
    • Tom Courtenay
    • Julie Christie
    • Wilfred Pickles
    • Mona Washbourne
    • Ethel Griffies
    • Finlay Currie
    • Rodney Bewes
    • Helen Fraser
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