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Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (1960)


Warning: screenonline full synopses contain 'spoilers' which give away key plot points. Don't read on if you don't want to know the ending!

Arthur Seaton is a tough, hedonistic young man who works as a lathe operator at the Raleigh factory in Nottingham. He believes that, unlike his colleague Jack, he will never be ground down by the system and that the only truth is having a good time -the rest, he claims, is just propaganda. Unlike his Dad he resists the lure of the TV and prefers to go out on the town.

Arthur is having an affair with Jack's wife, Brenda. They go to a pub and Arthur wins a drinking competition but falls downstairs. As Jack is away they go back to Brenda's and make love. Arthur has a narrow escape when Jack returns unexpectedly the next morning.

He goes to the pub to meet his cousin, Bert. They see a young woman, Doreen, and Arthur asks her for a date. Later, while fishing with Bert, Arthur tells him that he doesn't want to settle down and despises the husbands he cuckolds for not being attentive enough to their wives.

Jack nearly catches Arthur and Brenda together again. Arthur braves it out despite Jack's suspicions and implied threats about his brother and his mate in the army. Arthur starts seeing Doreen, but Brenda meets him to tell him that she's pregnant and that the baby must be his. She does not want to keep the baby and Arthur offers to see if his Aunt Ada can organise an abortion.

Out with Bert, Arthur clashes with the local 'nosy parker' Ma Bull. Back home and bent on revenge he shoots her from his window with an airgun, hitting her backside. She comes to his house with the police but Arthur's Dad covers for him.

Arthur meets Brenda in town. Aunt Ada's treatment has failed and she detects that Arthur's interest is moving elsewhere. He offers to pay for her to visit a doctor who might carry out the abortion.

Arthur goes to the fair with Doreen and Bert. Brenda is also there with Jack and his soldier friends. Arthur and Brenda sneak off to talk and Brenda says that she has decided to keep the baby. The soldiers see them together on the dodgems. Arthur runs away but is ambushed in town and badly beaten up.

Arthur is injured in bed but philosophical about his defeat. He believes that what anyone says he is he isn't and resists any attempt to label him or restrict his will.

Doreen comes to visit him. He tells her about Brenda but implies that he wants Doreen for good. Bumping into Jack in the factory, Arthur treats him with contempt but does receive a promise on Brenda's future welfare. Arthur goes fishing with Bert again. It emerges that he is to marry Doreen. He remains defiant about social restrictions and scorns his parents' gratitude for a few, small material advances.

Sitting with Doreen outside a new housing development on the edge of the city, Arthur throws a stone at the building site. When Doreen chides him he tells her that it won't be the last he'll throw.