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This Sporting Life

Made in 1963, this is a classic screen adaptation of the hard hitting David Storey novel about violence and its effect on the quality of life.

Richard Harris and Rachel Roberts are outstanding as Frank Machin, the professional Rugby League player who hopes, as he leaves his mining job to gain social respect but only succeeds in carrying the violence of the football field into every area of his life, and Mrs Hammond, the frigid and withdrawn woman with whom he lodges and inarticulately conducts a joyless affair.
As well as examining their relationship in minute and painful detail, the film begins with him getting his teeth kicked in and gets steadily more brutal.

It’s about hard playing and hard drinking too. Wakefield folk will recognise many locations including scenes in the Dolphin pub with Beverleys beers featured prominently. Trinity’s stand has a Beverleys logo on its roof whilst Thrum Hall has Samuel Websters. The film is directed by Lindsay Anderson  who began film making with a series of short documentaries in and around Wakefield in 1952. The cast also includes Arthur Lowe, and William Hartnell the first Dr Who.

The film is now sought after item by film buffs but you can get it through Amazon - I got my copy from www.films2door.co.uk


from the Winter 2005-6 edition of O-to-K