On Friday 8th February, we heard of the sad passing of Albert Finney.
Many of us at Moviola HQ have very fond memories of Albert’s roles (from the most unexpected periods) crossing entire generations.
Starting off treading the boards in the ’50s, his work led him to the big screen in the early ’60s and he soon found himself to be (inadvertently) part of the emerging ‘angry young men’ movement. Playing up his northern working-class roots, his breakout role in Woodfall’s gritty Saturday Night And Sunday Morning saw him become the poster boy for disaffected British youth – a tipping point in British attitudes of class divides and changing sensibilities. “I vividly recall seeing Saturday Night & Sunday Morning during the late ’90s. Despite the passage of time by that point, Albert’s commitment to Arthur Seaton’s caddish rogue was hugely impactful on me as a young man from a working-class background, as well” recalls Moviola’s Communication & Diversity Officer, Neil, of his first encounters with Finney’s work.
From his role as Arthur Seaton, Finney’s work went from strength to strength seeing him display his capable skills as a variety of iconic characters – sleuthing as Hercule Poirot in Murder On The Orient Express (1974) to the unforgettable choreography as Daddy Warbucks dancing alongside Aileen Quinn’s Annie in 1982.
General Manager, Christina, lamented “There goes a big piece of my youth!” as she recounted Moviola’s recent screenings of Finney’s work and her own generational encounters. Our network enjoyed seeing Finney as John Newton in Michael Apted’s well-received Amazing Grace (2006) as well as his more populist work as the gruff gamesman in Skyfall (2012). Both of which were hugely embraced by Moviola audiences, no more so for the familiar face of Finney, quietly doing exceptional work as part of ensemble casts.
His body of work will be remembered not only as the ‘angry young man’ who opened the doors for other young working-class actors such as Malcolm McDowell, but by younger generations who grew up on Finney’s gentler side as the comforting Uncle Silas or the giant fibber, Ed Bloom, in Tim Burton’s Big Fish.
As droll as ever, we’ll leave the last words up to the great man.
There’s a time when a man needs to fight, and a time when he needs to accept that his destiny is lost, that the ship has sailed, and that only a fool would continue. The truth is, I’ve always been a fool.
Albert Finney Jr 1936 -2019