1971-1980BBCDramaStephen FrearsTVUnited Kingdom

Stephen Frears – A Day Out (1972)

Michael Brooke wrote:
Alan Bennett’s debut play for television shows a day in the life of the members of a Halifax cycling club in 1911, following them from the town to the ruins of Fountains Abbey and eavesdropping on their conversations, which range from the inconsequential, to the reflective, to the ruefully ironic.

The most telling example of the latter comes when Boothroyd explains why there will never be another war, as the play is set three years before World War I cut swathes through a generation – and, as the 1919 coda implies, many of the club’s members as well.

We also learn about their relationships with women: Gregory’s palpable fear of his mother, Cross’ shy hesitancy with Florence, Edgar’s confident sexuality, Ackroyd’s happy domesticity and, finally, Shorter’s bitter misogyny (“There’s no nobility about them, women. It’s all mundane – one day to the next. No large view, no theory, all practice.”).

For them, the day out provides a temporary freedom from dull routine, offering them at the very least a chance to air feelings to sympathetic ears, if not rather more potent opportunities – though both Edgar and Cross ultimately turn down what’s offered them in favour of loyalty to the club.

Somewhat surprisingly, given that the BBC had been broadcasting colour for some time, A Day Out is in black and white. This was because it would make it easier to achieve a convincing period feel on a small budget – and the hazy, lyrical cinematography recalls the work of Jean Renoir, particularly the similarly brief Partie de Campagne (France, 1936), which also had a dark, pessimistic undertone.


Container:  	Matroska
Runtime: 	48mn 31s
Size: 	877 MiB
Codec: 	x264
Resolution: 	702x576 ~> 768x576
Aspect ratio:  	4:3
Frame rate: 	25.000 fps
Bit rate: 	2 269 Kbps
BPP: 	0.224
#1:  	English 2.0ch AC-3 @ 256 Kbps


Subtitles:English, English SDH

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