When you think 1960’s British working class films you naturally call upon The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner. Based on Alan Sillitoe’s short story, it was the film about troubled youth in Britain.
But I can’t help thinking about a more peculiar one, also based on a book. I’m talking about The Leather Boys with its raucous teenage bikers, bopping music, foul mouths, and gay unrequited love. Yes, Sidney J. Furie went there and I was thrilled to be watching it. Unfortunately, Gillian Freeman had to tone down her film adaptation from the book she published under the pseudonym Eliot George in 1961, but it certainly broke Hollywood decency codes when screened stateside in 1964.
It was your standard love affair, at first. British film darling Rita Tushingham plays Dot, a preening 15-year-old loudmouth, who is dying to marry her Triumph-riding Reggie. They do get hitched. Beans for dinner. Laundry unwashed. Well, and some romps. Marriage isn’t all bad. But halfway through I started asking myself, was Dot going to be left behind by her husband, Reggie, for another man? Well, maybe.
Pete. Pete. Pete.
The first meeting between doe-eyed Pete and Reggie.
Image courtesy of Roadrunner Magazine.
Oh, Pete. Bright blond curls, leather pants, and a soft, shy face. He’s fun-loving Pete. He’s sensitive Pete. He understands Reggie in ways that Dot cannot.
And one can’t help but wish, for a moment, that Dot were out of the picture. Motorcycle accident? I may sound brutal, but after watching, you’ll understand. Trust me.