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Night Out, A (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!

Albert Stokes is dressing to go out when his mother calls him from upstairs. She expresses surprise that he should be going out. He insists he has already told her three times that he is attending a work party to mark the retirement of Mr Ryan. She complains that she had thought he would stay in to play cards, becomes upset when he insists he cannot stay for dinner or change a lightbulb in 'grandma's room' and takes offence when he reminds her that grandma has been dead for ten years. Eventually, after Albert reassures her that he is going to the party out of obligation and promises to be home early, she allows him to leave, after some fussing over his appearance and worrying that he is 'messing about with girls'.

Meanwhile, Albert's colleagues Kedge and Seeley wait for him at a coffee stall by a railway arch. They discuss Saturday's football game involving the firm's team, in which Albert was playing. Albert's performance was blamed for the team's defeat and won him the enmity of team captain Gidney. When Albert arrives, he is unenthusiastic about the party. When Kedge implies that he is afraid of Gidney, Albert becomes irritable, especially when Kedge asks after his mother. Eventually, Albert agrees to go.

At the party, while Kedge and Seeley dance with girls from the office, Albert is awkward, particularly when two girls come to talk to him. While Mr King, the company manager and party host, is proposing a toast to Mr Ryan, one of the girls screams and claims that someone has touched her indecently. Although the culprit is Mr Ryan, Albert finds himself accused. As Mr King tries to restore order, Albert walks out. Gidney follows him, demanding he apologise to the girl. Albert tries to walk away, while Seeley defends him. When Gidney calls him a 'mother's boy', Albert knocks him down and walks out.

Much later, Albert returns home, drunk. His mother, asleep at the table, wakes and fusses, expressing shock at his dishevelled appearance. Albert stays silent, struggling to control his mounting anger as she rattles on, asking why he can't bring some nice girl home to meet her and complaining that he doesn't care about her. Finally, however, he snaps, grabbing an alarm clock and moving to strike her with it.

Albert wanders the streets and finds himself under the arches. A girl approaches him and invites him to her flat around the corner. Silently, Albert follows her. In the flat, the girl demands he remove his shoes, complaining about the noise he is making. She shows him a picture of a young girl in a tutu - her daughter, she explains, currently in an exclusive boarding school. Albert lies that he works in films, as an assistant director. The girl is impressed at his 'breeding', and says she once worked as a continuity girl. Albert stays largely silent as the girl witters on, attempting to demonstrate her respectable status and complaining at his poor manners as she begins to undress. Eventually, he loses his temper, ranting incoherently, spilling out all the pent up anger of his evening. He rips the picture from its frame and reads the inscription on the back - it is dated 1933. Angrily, he tells her that the photo is not her daughter but herself. She protests. He begins to order the dejected girl around, demanding she brings him his shoes and put them on. He leaves, complaining of the cold.

He returns home, to be met by his mother. She is shocked that he raised his hand to her, but as she sees his state of exhaustion, she begins to comfort him, telling him he is 'a good boy' and holding him. Albert says nothing.