Cleveland International Film Festival } April 7 – April 18, 2021 } Playhouse Square



Year: 1973
Country: Great Britain
Run Time: 67 minutes


The enormous success of John Osborne's 1956 play, "Look Back in Anger," triggered a cultural revolution in England. Traditionally the bastion of ruling-class values, the English theater suddenly became the principal outlet for working-class artists. Eventually this revolution spread to films, the visual arts, literature, and the field of popular music, which was dominated by two working-class groups, the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. A whole new generation of artists made their debuts during the exciting period, among them such brilliant actors as Tom Courtenay, Albert Finney, Richard Harris, David Warner and Alan Bates. The distaff side could boast such first-rate actresses as Glenda Jackson, Lynn and Vanessa Redgrave, Rita Tushingham and Rachel Roberts. These performers were equally adept at playing the classics as they were the new dramas, and equally at home on the stage as before the camera. Some of the most famous plays and novels of the period eventually found their way to the cinema and, in fact, gave birth to an English renaissance in film with such impressive explorations of working-class life as "The Entertainer" (1960), "This Sporting Life" (1963), "The Caretaker" (1964) and "Saturday Night and Sunday Morning" (1960). By the early 1970s, much of this cultural fervor has subsided, but it never dies, as can be seen in ALPHA BETA, which is an adaptation of a play about working-class life by E.A. Whitehead. The story of the disintegration of a bad marriage, the film is somewhat similar to Ingmar Bergman's "Scenes From a Marriage" (1973), in that it's more of an actor's vehicle than a movie-type movie. The English are almost universally acknowledged to have the finest actors in the world, and the performances of Albert Finney and Rachel Roberts in ALPHA BETA do nothing to diminish this legend. Their searing performances have drawn ecstatic notices, even from the most discriminating reviewers. For example, John Simon wrote of the film: "Acting at its very highest: Anyone who cares a rap about performances owes himself this experience."

E.A. Whitehead, based on his play

Timothy Burrill

Charles Stewart

Principal Cast
Albert Finney, Rachel Roberts

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