Standing Up to Silence

Richard Attenborough and Pier Angeli in The Angry Silence (1960)

Tom Curtis (Richard Attenborough) is a hard working family man with an Italian wife, two young children and a third one on the way which makes life at home a bit chaotic. But things are going to become much harder as at the factory where he works the union vote on an all out strike over safety, conditions and equipment. When union leader Bert Connelly (Bernard Lee) declares a strike Tom decides to go against it and keep on working which leads to him being 'sent to Coventry' by his colleagues not only whilst they are on strike but also when they return to work.

I've mentioned this before; there are some movies which whilst still being good are very much a movie of their era and are difficult to relate to now when times have changed. "The Angry Silence" is just one such movie as the days of unions calling strikes with the abrupt nature as shown in this movie are seemingly a rarity and as such for those who didn't live through this it is hard to understand and relate to what is going on.

But whilst "The Angry Silence" is hard to relate to it gets its point across with its opposition to union power as we watch Tom and some others having to deal with pressure to join the strike with their property vandalized in the middle of the night. We also see how Tom doing what he strongly believes is right faces abuse for standing strong against Connelly and his controlling attitude as well as the bullying of others. And it really comes to life thanks to the solid performance of Richard Attenborough who gives Tom some working class fire and beliefs which makes him easy to side with. In fact now "The Angry Silence" is a movie where you can appreciate the acting of all those involved.

What this all boils down to is that "The Angry Silence" is still an entertaining movie and also and interesting one with its representation of unions and the way they worked. But it is a movie of its era which makes it hard for those who did not live through the period to relate to it.

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