1960s >> 1963 >> no-712-december-1963

Film Review – ‘Billy Liar’

The drudgery of work

‘Billy Liar’

The life of the worker in present day society is one of the weary round of working and sleeping, with brief intervals for relaxation, overtime permitting. What a drudgery work is for the mass of us: boring repetition, dreary surroundings, whether in office or factory, with the reward, a wage packet barely sufficient to keep one going until the next pay-day, a long week away, especially so if one has a family to support, and most people do, sooner or later.

Billy Fisher, the main character of the film “Billy Liar,” finds life quite intolerable, from his job as a clerk in a firm of undertakers to his home life with his nagging parents and his television doting grandmother. Well, Billy in his own way rebels, not by sliding into crime, but by letting his imagination run riot, he can conjure up a dream world named Ambrosia where is all the dictators rolled into one or the conquering hero with the cheers of the populace ringing in his ears. Billy also tells ridiculous stories in his efforts to illuminate a drab existence, hence the name of the film.

Billy plans to leave his northern home town with a roving girl friend for London, where he supposes life will magically change for the better. But he hurries from the train just before it leaves the station, as if he realises that in London his problems would be with him just as inexorably as if he never left home; in fact, would be with him wherever he roamed.

D. R. West

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