Directed by Jack Gold
"On your way up Marler?", asks the boss in the lift.
"One below you sir", he quips.
Midway through a Machiavellian board room plot about "computers" he receives a call from "up north" prompting him to hurtle up the M6 to a Liverpool halfway between depression and all out demolition. It's a grim broken brick terrace, pram-pushing, Beatle-neglected reality. Here he finds the women of his forgotten family, grimly holding vigil over a dying father. The pubs are full of acned youths in leather, wizened Irish Republican-exiles and women puffing on fags, faces filled with Woolworths mascara. And it's here that Michael Marler in an electrifying performance by Shakespearean actor Nicol Williamson learns a few home truths that force a detour to his more obvious ambitions.
|Nicol Williamson - in the words of John Osborne, "The greatest actor since Brando"|
This cathartic episode propels him back to "that" London where he ensures everything must change so everything can stay the same. On his first morning back he memorably destroys a little man from HR for placing a toff into an unsuitable provincial position.
"Have you ever been to Grimsby?", he screams, re-taking the reins.
The north like a shot in the arm, flows through his veins, pushing him headlong into conflict. It's a one-way track he can't avoid and like the jumped red lights and bent traffic cones, he leaves chaos in his wake.
The film plays out like a white-heat of technology post-script to "Room at The Top". There's a dash of the yet to be released "Get Carter" and strong echoes of "Charlie Bubbles'". Fast moving, thought provoking and evocative, this is one of those brave character-driven British films that were being made before the money ran out. In the 1970's things like this were down-sized for television on "Play for Today" before Thatcher (aided and abetted by the likes of Michael Gove in the right-wing press) would blast them off the schedules forever.
|A long way from Tipperary, J.G.Devlin as Cocky Burke|