Last week, we lost an icon of 20th century cinema. The actor Albert Finney, who personified the “angry young man” of British cinema of the 1950s, died on February 7th at the age of 82.
Finney was born to a lower-middle class family in Salford, England, just outside of Manchester, in 1936. After attending the Royal Academy of Drama (RADA), Finney had a name for himself as a stage actor before taking film roles. His first film, The Entertainer, was one of the first “kitchen-sink dramas”: films that explored the lives of working class Britons with unrelenting realism, and tried to force British society at large to deal with social problems in the wake of WWII. Since Finney came from a lower-middle/working class family from Northern England, he was an ideal fit for many of the “angry young man” roles that dominated these films. In addition to The Entertainer, he also starred in Saturday Night and Sunday Morning.
Despite his affinity of these working class roles, Finney managed to avoid being typecast. In 1963, just three years after the release of his first two kitchen sink films, Finney earned his first Oscar nomination for his titular role in Tom Jones, a film based on the raunchy 18th century novel. However, he famously scorned the Oscars and other awards, and he never attended the ceremony, despite being nominated a total of five times.
Finney worked consistently between 1956 and 2002, appearing in plays such as The Cherry Orchard, movies like Erin Brockovich and Big Fish,a tv show like the Winston Churchill drama The Gathering Storm. and After fighting cancer in the mid 2000s, he returned to theaters with small roles in the Jason Bourne trilogy, as well as the James Bond film Skyfall.
We’ll miss Albert Finney’s arresting presence in new films, but the nice thing about DVDs is that you can go back and watch actors like Finney forever. Here are Finney’s films in our collection:
- Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (DVD 359)
- Tom Jones (DVD 8107)
- Erin Brockovich (DVD 306)
- The Playboys (DVD 6817)
- Miller’s Crossing (DVD 2457)
- A Good Year (DVD 3959)
- The Dresser (DVD 4790)
- Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead (DVD 4201)
- Skyfall (DVD 5001)
- Under the Volcano (DVD 8807)
- Annie (DVD 221)
- The Bourne Ultimatum (DVD 4953)
- Amazing Grace (DVD 3420)
- Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride (DVD 13291)
- Two for the Road (DVD 4562)
- Big Fish (DVD 4712)