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This Sporting Life (The Criterion Collection)
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SPECIAL EDITION DOUBLE-DISC SET FEATURES:
New, restored high-definition digital transfer
Audio commentary featuring Paul Ryan, editor of Never Apologise: The Collected Writings of Lindsay Anderson, and David Storey, screenwriter and author of This Sporting Life
Lindsay Anderson: Lucky Man? (2004, 30 min), a BBC Scotland documentary featuring interviews with many of the director s close friends and collaborators
New video interview with Lois Sutcliffe Smith, Anderson s close friend and president of the Lindsay Anderson Memorial Foundation
Meet the Pioneers (1948), Lindsay Anderson s first documentary short
Wakefield Express (1952), Anderson s short-film contribution to England s Free Cinema series, shot in the same town that served as the location for This Sporting Life
Is That All There Is? (1992, 50 min), Anderson s autobiographical, final film
PLUS: A booklet featuring a new essay by film scholar Neil Sinyard and writings by Anderson, including his groundbreaking article, Stand Up! Stand Up!
Top Customer Reviews
Anderson populates the film with several other memorable characters--an older man who seems to be in love with the hero, the grasping team-owner's wife who wishes to possess him.
The film contains scenes of nearly unbearable intensity and anguish (Frank's drunken ballad sung in a bar, or Margaret's pleading to be left alone). Also of note is the film's unusual structure, functioning on two levels at once: in "real time" and in Frank's memory, which he may be coloring by his own reactions (something for the viewer to contemplate).
The black and white cinematography is often beautiful as it poeticizes Frank's plight (for example, near the end of the film, he ends up wandering along moonlit railway tracks in a world of steely, silvery loneliness. Also of note, the wonderfully nightmarish music by Roberto Gerhard, an avant-garde composer who differed with the director on the scoring the film.
See the film on DVD for maximum quality. Although the disc contains no special features, it is good to know this great picture has been preserved in the new medium.
Highlighted by a gritty realism that captures both the world of rugby and working class England, "This Sporting Life" is primarily a romance--albeit an unlikely one. Richard Harris is full of bravado and arrogance as a young rugby player who sees the sport as an opportunity to raise his income, if not exactly his station. Embraced and exploited by the ball club, he soon becomes seduced by success. But really, he just wants to feel acceptance--particularly from the widow who rents him a room. Rachel Roberts is a vital blend of strength and vulnerability in this role. This is perhaps her finest screen performance. As her resistance gives way to moments of joy and back again--every feeling is telegraphed by her face. This slow-burning romance inevitably erupts in a fury and passion rarely seen in film--and this remarkable duo are given the opportunity to explode with emotional fireworks.
The social aspects and commentary that mark Anderson's film career are all present in "This Sporting Life.Read more ›
David Storey wrote the screenplay based on his novel (same title) and, under Lindsay Anderson's crisp and sure direction, each member of the cast delivers a superb performance, including Glenda Jackson in what I think is her debut role. The colorful, often violent action on various playing fields is effectively portrayed, in stunning contrast with the drab lives of those who cheer on the teams. Credit Denys Coop for the cinematography. In essence, this film explores the nature and extent of one man's raw ambition and almost animalistic determination as his natural talents enable him to seize opportunities available to few others. Comparisons of This Sporting Life with Raging Bull are not a stretch. (Presumably De Niro saw this film prior to portraying La Motta. Did Harris see Brando in On the Waterfront before portraying Machin?Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Heavy, but a great film among the excellent black and white works that came out of England. Harris and the other actors give strong performances, and the piece is shot almost as if... Read morePublished 11 months ago by William Alan Moss
So good, so painfully true. Harris and Roberts are brilliant as two broken people trying to somehow forge a relationship. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Steven L. Wilson
WOW ! ,!this movie is so fascinating.i have only seen this once before about 15 yrs ago,and I didn't appreciate it then. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Jon Hufford
Harris did this film very early in his career. You can see the raw power of his acting and the inner turmoil of someone with only a vague awareness of what it means to be part of... Read morePublished on September 10, 2013 by William A. Bonnet
I thoroughly enjoyed seeing "This Sporting Life" when I first watched this, mum was making fun of me because she thinks, the hero is raping his love interest. Read morePublished on May 22, 2013 by Annelies
I am pleased to see that there is still an interest in the work of British director Lindsay Anderson with his oeuvre of classic and/or challenging films. Read morePublished on September 15, 2012 by K. Harris
What a movie! Heavy. Heavy. But great if a little long. I never knew Richard Harris could act. I only had seen him in later, lesser movies. Read morePublished on August 11, 2012 by mphilipm
"This Sporting Life." (1963). A true black and white British classic, a scorching sport-centered drama, helmed by prolific director Lindsay Anderson (O Lucky Man! Read morePublished on December 7, 2011 by Stephanie De Pue
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