Directed by Alan Clarke and aired in its home country of the UK on television on June 13th 1967.
A short half hour piece by Alan Clarke done for British television which tells the story of a visit by a man from the social (the welfare office, the dole, etc.) to a man with learning difficulties. The man who lives at home with his brother, has just quit his job the week prior. The film descends into chaos when the older of the two decides to give the man from the social a bit of a scare.
It gets even crazier which is something I most certainly wasn’t expecting but welcomed wholeheartedly especially as it allows the viewer to really look into how Clarke directed the three actors in the piece. All three actors give wonderful performances but the the way in which Clarke’s camera gets up close and personal with the characters and really lets us into the action is something I’m sure was looked at with great regard by Clarke’s peers at that time.
The highlight of the short half hour piece in my opinion is when the older brother heads out to buy a pack of cigarettes (presumably to mock the man from the social, i.e. the man spending the money he gets from the social on a pack of cigarettes – this would be frowned upon by anyone from the upper classes) leaving the younger and mentally-handicapped brother alone with the man from the social. The lack of music, which I’m beginning to think is a trademark for Clarke, really builds up the tension between the two characters and provides a welcomed break from the dialogue-heavy action.
Being one of Clarke’s earlier films, of which I haven’t yet seen that many, it’s interesting to see how his knack for directing still managed to shine through even so early on his career. Many of his other works are indeed much better and more thawed out than this one, but for any fan of Clarke’s it’s definitely a must see.