Up the Junction



Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 80%
IMDb Rating 6.9 10 839

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Uploaded By: FREEMAN
September 19, 2021 at 06:18 PM


Maureen Lipman as Sylvie
Aubrey Morris as Creely
1.07 GB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 59 min
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Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Raph770 8 / 10

A shamefully underrated expose on working class London in the swinging 60s

I first saw this film on late night TV in Melbourne, Australia, in the late 1980s. I love it then, but wasn't able to view it again until recently, and enjoyed it as much as my first viewing almost 30 years earlier.

One of the first things I remembered thinking after first viewing it is – why isn't this film better known? It's one of the great British films of the 1960s, and a fine example of the 'kitchen sink' genre. Added to that, it has superb widescreen cinematography – every scene is beautifully shot, the outdoor scenes particularly so. Working class London in the 60s was a ramshackle, beautiful if run-down environment. The film captures a lost world – it's a fascinating historical document as well as a serious movie.

The cast is spot on,it's all very believable, and the leads have a genuine chemistry. Suzy Kendall may have had a limited acting range – but she's perfect in this role. And so beautiful!

The story tackles all manner of social problems not just of the 60s, but universal ones applicable today as then. Some scenes are still quite disturbing to watch – this is not some 'swinging London' expose, but an accurate glimpse in to the life of working class Londoners before the gentrification process started.

I was fortunate to study British film at Monash Univeristy (Melbourne) under the great Brian MacFarlane in the 1990s. He's considered the world expert on British cinema, and was commissioned by the British Film Academy to write the authorised history of British cinema. One of the things MacFarlane consistently highlighted was the fact Brit film only began to portray the working class seriously from the late 1950s. Prior to that, working class were portrayed in movies as either servants, idiots, criminals or downtrodden miners etc. Up the Junction is a beautifully realised example of a time when the British finally began to take the working class seriously.

It's also the first film I can think of with a soundtrack written by a well known rock band – Manfred Mann. And though dated – the music is perfect for this film and captures something of the youth vibe then flowering across the western world. Truly – this is a shamefully underrated film and a must-see for anyone interested in London in the 1960s.

Reviewed by avezou1 8 / 10

Fine 60's time capsule with a big something more

Good cast, good score, good storyline, good direction... Always relevant, never boring, just atmospheric sometimes. We even have a nice little love story. What more can be expected from a movie?

I'm far from being British, neither was I born in the sixties, but you don't need to be to appreciate this movie. The underlying baseline - in-communicability between social classes - is timeless.

Some reviewers say that the movie is depressing. Not more than "I'll never forget whats Isname" and "Alfie", which are similar.

There's barely any false note in this one, including the final which avoids all clichés. Peter Collinson handled his subject with the same perfection all the way through than he did with his masterpiece "Ten Little Indians".

Reviewed by Lejink 7 / 10

I Don't Want To Go To Chelsea

So I was listening to Squeeze's brilliant "Up The Junction" single and thought to myself, I have to go to the source to maybe appreciate how the song came about. Chris Difford's lyric condenses the action far better than I ever could (although it doesn't slavishly follow the film's plot anyway) but I'll have a go. I've also not seen Ken Loach's earlier BBC TV adaptation of the original play, although I understand it dispenses with the central character of Suzy Kendall's mixed-up rich girl from the other side of the river who we see over the titles, walking out of her privileged world to see how the other half lives. Shallow and condescending as this might seem, sure enough she walks straight into a job at a sweet packaging company, where the all-female employees have an uncomplicated, enthusiastic approach to life which immediately appeals to her. There she falls under the wings of two very dissimilar looking sisters, Maureen Lipman as the older of the two, already married, separated and had an abortion, she's protective and cynical but still young enough to look to have a good time, while Adrienne Posta is her 17 year old sister, hormones flaring but with a selfish, bullying streak to her as we see when she publicly "makes over" one of her shop-floor colleagues, a shy girl possibly with learning difficulties.

We follow the three of them as they have a lark at work break-time and then at night when they hook up with some lairy young men at the local pub, where the sisters belt out a song with the pub group. Kendall herself meets a young delivery boy working for a second-hand furniture shop from where she's buying for her cheap and cheerful flat and things you might think will continue on this bright and breezy road until the end when things however take a darker turn. We see the older sister beaten up in the street by her drunken ex-husband but there's worse in store for the younger sister who falls pregnant and gets a back-street abortion which goes terribly wrong. Finally, to cap it all, the boyfriend who impregnated Corri dies in a motorbike crash, all of this with Kendall as sort of the first person witness to all of it. She wanted to see how the poor live and now she most certainly does.

The film finishes with a concentration on Kendall's new romance where the male feels he's punching above his weight and is forever trying to drag her out of seedy Battersea to posher Belgravia not appreciating that she's already rejected that mode of life. However catching her on the rebound from her emotional involvement over Posta's botched abortion, he turns up in a flash car, whisks her away to the seaside to a posh hotel, takes her to a fancy restaurant and eventually proposes to her. That's when we learn that the two of them are pulling in opposite directions, he wants out of the struggling, hard-up life amongst the poor working-class world he inhabits and doesn't care how he does it, while she seems to have found herself by rejecting the privileged upper class life he craves. It's nicely encapsulated in a scene where she craves a bag of cockles at a street vendor much to his disgust.

Class consciousness was a big deal in the 60's and drove many of the kitchen-sink dramas which emerged in the British cinema of the day. Whilst that argument is over-simplified here and one can't imagine too many mummy and daddy's little girls like Kendall's Polly slumming it like this, there's definitely pathos in the portrayals of her poor workmates, although we never actually get a glimpse of the monied life that Polly's escaping.

With good use of real-life locations, fine naturalistic acting especially by Lipman and Posta in support, empathetic direction by Peter Collinson and a bright, psychedlicised soundtrack by Manfred Mann and Mike Hugg, although inevitably dated by its attitudes (it seems to be accepted that men can slap women about or leave them to deal with an unplanned pregnancy) "Up The Junction" still stands as a reasonably accurate and authentic snapshot of the travails of the working classes, especially women in the mid-to-late 60's.

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