January 2, 2017


Alan Clarke (1935-1990) b. Liverpool, England.

Alan Clarke

Filmmaker Alan Clarke was the son of a Liverpool insurance salesman. He worked as a labourer and then attempted to be a salesman before spending two years in Hong Kong as part of his National Service. After taking courses in acting and directing in Canada, he returned to England to take up a post with ITV before moving to the BBC in 1969.

Much of Clarke’s work remained for TV, but he was responsible for two confronting films of rough working-class life, notably the graphic Borstal exposé, Scum (1979, from TV play) starring a young Ray Winstone, and the exploration of teenage sex on a Bradford housing estate, Rita, Sue and Bob Too (1987). Another notable hard-hitting slice of realism was Made in Britain (1982), scripted by David Leland and starring Tim Roth as Trevor, an unrepentant racist skinhead.

His final TV film starred, The Firm (1988), starred Gary Oldman and was an abrasive vision of football violence and, by extension, a critique of Thatcherism and her comments on society. He favoured an apparently detached, `documentary’ film-making style, but this in no way lessened his impact of his uncompromising and innovative films. He died of cancer in 1990.

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