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The humor is a little dark, like an Evelyn Waugh novel. But like I said, the first half hour is primarily farce. The genius of the movie, however, is that Billy grows more complex as the film moves along. Billy has somehow gotten himself engaged to two different girls, neither of whom he intends to marry, and bizarrely keeps running into both of them.
As he increasingly gets more caught in his own various webs of deceit, Courtenay's Billy begins to crack, and as we see how emotionally vulnerable he really is, he becomes much more sympathetic.
Courtenay is masterful, as he seeks to keep hold of his fantasies and juggle his many lies, without getting trapped and caught — and it doesn't always work. Courtenay's genius is that he so effortlessly moves back and forth between weakness and manipulation, and we actually become more fond of him as the film progresses. Some Northern British city itself is the co-star here, shot in glorious post-war black and white.
One particularly interesting scene takes place in a dance club. All the locals have gathered to dance to such dreary crap as a song called "Twisteralla" I am not sure it was not a parody of typical music of , and forming a conga-line at one point. To think, this took place perhaps just months before the Beatles exploded on the scene; to me, it is a snapshot of how distressing the music and club world was before the British Invasion yes, I know the British did not invade their own country.
All the supporting cast are spectacular, from the old grandmother who doesn't understand why there are so many "Blackies" in town, to the two girlfriends, one an obnoxious bully, the other an annoying prude, to Billy's ever irritated father, who at one point calls Billy a "Mary-Anne" - oh dear!
A particularly funny moment occurs when Courtenay has asked one of his girlfriends to go for a walk. The camera suddenly is pointing up into the trees, and we hear the girlfriend Barbara exclaim off-camera something like "oh it is so beautiful here!
Really clever. A great film, and keep your eyes closely on Courtenay. Oh, and to really appreciate Courtenay, watch the film he made after this one, "King and Country".
Tom's character, a dim-witted soldier on trial for his life, could not be more different than Billy, and shows what an extraordinary actor he is. I think all of us can identify with a fantasy world that tranports us from the regularities of everyday life.
This is a story of a young and irresponsible man with an intense, overactive imagination. With a strong desire to write "I'm going to start my novel - words every day" , he struggles to start because, in his mind, he only ever sees the established product.
A terrible procrastinator, he spends most of the film disposing of calendars that he didn't mail on behalf of the funeral home he works for. He longs for happiness and success but isn't willing to risk the security of home to get it. Somewhere in his past, he never learned to face up to responsibility, possibly because he resented being sent to grammar school at the expense of his parents.
As a young adult, Billy wants to escape the tangled web of irresponsibility and lies he has woven. When he is given the opportunity to finally leave and start anew thanks to the beautiful Liz , he turns away at the last minute and chooses to stay in the fantasy - it's easier. Every time I see it, I wish Billy would stay on the train and go through with it.
I also wish he would stay with Liz!!! An incredibly humorous film, Billy Liar is one of my all time favourites. It is especially funny for those of us who grew up in England because of the many jokes about our english ways. It is a classic - as are many early films of well-known directors - well worth owning. I would love to see a DVD version in widescreen released. Strange Revelation eddie54 13 July I first saw the film in New Jersey when I was a young teen.
The character of Billy Fisher was a dreamer good and a liar not good. He juggled two girlfriends which I thought was cool. He acted out his fantasies which I enjoyed. I was really starting to relate to him as a future role model.
The two of them are sitting on the train waiting to pull out of the station. Billy gets cold feet and invents a reason to leave the compartment. He goes to the milk machine which is located on the platform. Does he hurry? He gets the milk and stands there holding the two containers with his eyes closed, waiting for the train to start rolling. When he hears it moving, he makes this totally pathetic attempt to run for it.
He will not catch the train. He does not WANT to catch the train. It was at that point that I completely hated his character. Why did he bother to run for a train he had no intention of catching? Could he really be that delusional? Did he feel that if he made the lamest attempt to fun for the train that it would be erased as a mistake in his own mind? It was a lesson for me, a character builder.
I, under no circumstances, wanted to BE that person. The movie helped me. This early 60's sly little comedy with Tom Courtenay as a Walter Mitty type is charming and one of Schlesinger's best.
It also gives a wonderful supporting role to Julie Christie as a free-spirited girl who tries to get Billy to make the jump. An 8 out of 10 with Christie giving the best performance.
Schlesinger made some interesting films in the early 60's along with A Kind of Loving with Alan Bates that really touch the pain of ordinary life with touches of humor and desperation. Courtenay in a role played by Albert Finney on stage invents a fantasy world that keeps him afloat and carries him along.
Lovely stuff. Billy Liar is basically an autobiographical film for anyone who loves to daydream and get away with mischief.
I loved Courtenay's performance and the style of comedy in the film Billy as a soldier fantasizing about killing the annoying people in his life is funny and original. When "Billy Liar" reached the screen in it was considered a little shocking, an innovative contribution to the British ashcan school of cinema, along with "Saturday Night and Sunday Morning", "Morgan", and a few others.
The setting was always grimy and urban. The characters always working class. The conflicts were small and trivial to an outsider, and the treatment veered from comic to dramatic and back again, so that the audience was never quite certain about what was to come next or -- far more important -- how to feel about what they were watching.
The characters were multi-dimensional, as characters are in life off the screen, and that's a compliment to the audience. People generally are not good or bad; they are good AND bad. Adults can make up their own minds about their responses, can't they? This is a good example of the genre. Tom Courtenay is Billy Fisher.
He works in an undertaker's establishment in some minor role -- mailing out annual calendars and so forth. He's juggling two women as well. One blond bimbo satisfies his physical needs while the virginal brunette offers him a future in which, with any luck, the wedded couple will live in a shabby flat in the same smoky industrial city and raise a couple of children who will grow up to be as unexceptional as they themselves are.
This legerdemain confuses Courtenay, who doesn't care about his job anyway, and he begins to get into some mostly amusing hot water at work. And so -- keeping two young women on the hook and in danger of being fired and not being particularly appreciated by his Mom and Dad at home -- Billy Fisher does what any sane person would do. He fantasizes. And we see clips of his fantasies unfold on screen. There was a problem filtering reviews right now.
Please try again later. Verified Purchase. My wife liked this song and recommended it to me. It samples Midnight Starr's "I'm Curious" and makes me bob my head and snap my fingers. It reminds me to live my best life.
Song is a must have! Catchy and speaks truth. You have a lot of reasons to smile! Live your best life!! Smile bitchhhhhh! I love it. I liked the movie and how the actors created their characters. Tom Courtenay did it with very much conviction. A splendid, for that time spirited, and very good looking Julie Christie as Liz the new-age young girl, with no ties or limitations responsibility? We saw more of these girls in Holland soon after See the movie: you won't regret it I'm sure.
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Parents Guide. External Sites. Meanwhile, Billy encounters Liz and shares a romantic interlude with her outside, during which he proposes to her and she accepts. She urges him to accompany her to London that evening, and he goes home to pack his bags, only to find his grandmother has fallen ill and been taken to hospital.
Billy joins his mother at the hospital just in time to learn his grandmother has died. He then continues to the station to meet Liz, and the couple board the train, but at the last minute Billy disembarks with the excuse of buying some milk to drink on the journey. By the time he gets back to the train, it is pulling out, with an understanding Liz at the window and his suitcase left behind on the platform.
Alone, Billy walks the dark deserted road back to his home, imagining himself leading the marching army of Ambrosia.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.Oct 26, · With Jeff Rawle, George A. Cooper, Pamela Vezey, May Warden. Billy is an idealistic young man who is trapped in a boring life. He works in a tedious job in an undertaker's office with a permanently uptight employer, dates a soppy girl who fails to satisfy him emotionally or physically and lives with his parents and grandmother who stifle his personality.