Based on Nell Dunn's iconic tale of life in London's swinging sixties and released for the very first time on DVD , Up The Junction is an unforgettable classic of British cinema. Starring Suzy Kendall as Polly and Dennis Waterman as her hard-up boyfriend Peter, it is the tale of a young, well-heeled party girl who, bored with her affluent Chelsea lifestyle, moves to the industrialised and considerably less well to-do area of Battersea. In search of realism, Polly takes a factory job where she meets sisters Rube and Sylvie. But she soon discovers the seedier side of life in an impoverished world of crime, desperation and questionable morality. A side of life that everyone, but Polly, is desperately trying to leave behind.
I've watched quite a few 'kitchen sink' dramas from the 1960s over the last few months – and here's another. Partially based on the experiences of author Nell Dunn and first produced as a BBC TV 'Wednesday Play' directed by Ken Loach, this is the film version directed by Peter Collinson. Packed with well known names from the British acting fraternity, it tells the tale of posh Chelsea bird Suzy Kendall who goes south of the river to live in run down Battersea and experience a slice of 'real life'. She meets new boyfriend Dennis Waterman, makes friends with factory girls Adrienne Posta and Maureen Lipman, and moves into a cheap bedsit and soaks up the atmosphere. But the mood changes to a much darker tone with a backstreet abortion, motorbike death, a stolen E-Type Jag – and the realisation on both sides that there is a real lack of communication across the class barrier. There's lots of period detail (a functioning Battersea power station, casual racism, thriving street market, smoking, fashions, hairstyles, mods and rockers, knees up in the pub etc) and a soundtrack from Manfred Mann all of which I can relate to personally. It might be seen as somewhat dated and it's generally an underrated film – but I can highly recommend it. 4/5 stars.
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