A Day in the Lives: Billy Liar (1963)

Billy Bed

Throughout the opening credits of John Schlesinger’s 1963 film Billy Liar, the camera pans along lines of buildings in a northern English town. Although there’s some diversity of styles from shot to shot — apartment blocks, row homes, Tudor cottages — each row in and of itself is strikingly unvaried and repetitive, and the overall effect is of a certain dull monotony. A radio show aimed at housewives provides accompaniment as these images roll past, creating the impression that all of the homes, regardless of their appearances, are united by mundane domesticity. However, within the walls of one of them, a young man named Billy Fisher (Tom Courtenay) is daydreaming about a much more thrilling existence.

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Of Athletics and Angry Young Men: The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner (1962)

“Running’s always been a big thing in our family — especially running away from the police. It’s hard to understand. All I know is that you’ve got to run, run without knowing why, through fields and woods. And the winning post’s no end, even though barmy crowds might be cheering themselves daft. That’s what the loneliness of the long distance runner feels like.”

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