Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Forgotten Movies: BILLY LIAR



BILLY LIAR was a launching pad for both Julie Christie and Tom Courtenay. It's a sort of Walter Mitty story of a young man who lives more in his fantasy world than the real one. He has gotten himself engaged to two women and is proving a disappointment to everyone involved with him. Only the character played by Julie Christie seems to be able to anchor him.

BILLY LIAR was first a novel, then a play with Albert Finney in the lead, then this movie by John Schlesinger and finally a TV series.  The movie in 1963 has the feel of so many British movies from that era to me.

10 comments:

pattinase (abbott) said...

One more thing: it became a big musical hit in the West End (we saw it in 1975) and changed the career of Michael Crawford from just an actor to a huge musical star. Apparently it was also the first appearance of Elaine Paige (in a small role) but all I remember is Crawford.

Jeff M.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Oh, that is interesting, Jeff.

George said...

I'll watch anything with Julie Christie in it.

Margot Kinberg said...

Patti - This is a film I'm not familiar with at all. It sounds like a good view though; maybe I should try to find it.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I meant to say the show was called BILLY. John Barry wrote the music and Don Black the lyrics for the songs. Dick Clement & Ian Le Frenais (who did a lot of British television) wrote the script.


Jeff M.

Anonymous said...

One correction: it wasn't Elaine Paige's first role but one of her early roles. She'd been in HAIR several years earlier.


Jeff M.

Ron Scheer said...

As an Anglophile back then who had spent the summer of 1964 in Britain, I was fond of these movies, too. They were new-wavy and didn't try to emulate Hollywood. It takes more deliberate patience to watch them now.

pattinase (abbott) said...

It does, Ron. They seem too campy or too deliberate or too fey or twee. They are the opposite of the film I saw in NY last week in many ways: THIS SPORTING LIFE.

Anonymous said...

This Sporting Life is one of the great "kitchen sink" dramas popular in England from the late 1950s to the mid-1960s. They featured the downscale lives of working-class Brits who were children during WWII and had come of age during "austerity Britain."

Deb

Martin Edwards said...

Billy Liar is one of my favourite books, and the film is very good too. I've never seen the musical, though the idea of a John Barry score is very, very tempting. And Barry, like Keith Waterhouse, was a Yorkshireman.