From a 1958 press release:


American teenagers will get their first real glimpse of one of England's most exciting young actors when they see Gary Raymond in Warner Bros.' daring new feature, "Look Back in Anger." His only previous motion picture experience was in the period drama "The Moonraker."

Although Raymond is a newcomer to films he is already an idol of British youngsters as a result of his many stage appearances. It is a tribute that he shares star billing with Richard Burton, Claire Bloom and Mary Ure and Dame Edith Evans in this shocking new picture.

Raymond is over six feet tall, dark, handsome and possesses brooding eyes and a mop of tousled black hair that has British femmes swooning....


(Top row, left to right: Richard Burton; Gary Raymond and Mary Ure; GR and RB perform a music-hall sketch; GR and RB at the sweet stall; Cliff comforts Allison.)

Look Back in Anger

1958 / B&W / 99 Min. / Tony Richardson, director

Tense and brooding -- and described in its advertising on its release as "An electrifying adult experience...from the sensational play by John Osborne that shocked the world!" I'd be more inclined to describe it as harsh, no-holds-barred, and not for those looking for a sensitive love story. The main character's anger is ugly, but all too realistic. If it weren't so true, it might be impossible to stay with the character long enough to begin to understand him. If it weren't for the character of Cliff Lewis, who provides a buffer, sympathy, and humanity, the film might be too dark to allow for even the hope of change.

Much has been said by reviewers of how the film represents the frustrations of the angry young men of post-war Britain. Jimmy's (Richard Burton) struggles with his life ring true no matter what the era, as do the intertwined themes of bigotry, friendship, and Jimmy's relationship with his mother.

A plot summary is as follows: "Jimmy lives with his wife Allison (Mary Ure) and his close friend Cliff (Gary Raymond). Though he is university educated, Jimmy works running a sweet stall. His lack of ambition has poisoned his relationship with Allison's somewhat patrician family, and this in turn has embittered his feelings toward her. When Allison's friend Helena (Claire Bloom) shows up, the mere thread that holds the couple together seems to be broken."

GR has a significant role as the friend who loves both Jimmy and Allison and does his best to hold the couple together until he finds himself filling Allison's place as the target of Jimmy's anger. The film isn't all harrowing, though: GR's Cliff is charming and sincere (and hopelessly young), and the snippets of music-hall sketches performed with Burton are not to be missed.

Gary Raymond comments on the film: "I did play Cliff in Look Back in Anger on the stage in the production by Tony Richardson redirected by John Dexter. As Tony directed the film as well and Mary Ure was the original Alison there was a very easy atmosphere during the shoot. Edith Evans as Ma Tanner is wonderful in the film. I thought Burton very strong as Jimmy, and we got on well together, and I remember liking his wife Sybil enormously. At the time I made it, my wife -- then my girlfriend -- was making the film Room at the Top with Laurence Harvey and Simone Signoret; it was released first and slightly stole Look Back's thunder -- although we don't hear so much of it now."

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