'Another, more sinister reality': Class, youth and psychopathology from Saturday Night and Sunday Morning to Endless Night

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This article analyses how the protagonists of films such as Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (1959), The Collector (1965), Blow Up (1966), Twisted Nerve (1968) and Endless Night (1972) were understood in relation to debates over the supposed perils of the new affluence and the erosion of class distinctions that it was presumed to entail. In particular it examines the terms in which these issues were discussed within contemporaneous reviews of the films, terms that were insistently psychological. These protagonists, as well as, to a certain extent, the actors who played them, were seen as representing a nightmare image of a ‘new’ working class that no longer ‘knew its place’, and as manifesting psychological problems that were associated with this intermediate status. Their psychologies were interpreted by many critics as being distinguished by a sense of isolation from external reality and by a hostile relationship to the world characterised by a psychopathic lack of empathy. Such concerns could be seen as establishing certain parallels between working-class realism and the contemporaneous horror film, and indeed the reviews cited in this article demonstrate that working-class realism and horror were seen as having shared points of interest in the 1960s, points that have often been repressed by the tendency to compartmentalise British cinema history into separate or even opposed ‘traditions’.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)213-232
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of British Cinema and Television
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2019


  • Affluence
  • Consumerism
  • Film critics
  • Film reviews
  • Horror
  • Psychology
  • Psychopathology
  • Working-class realism

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