In Celebration

In Celebration
Directed by Lindsay Anderson
Produced by Ely A. Landau
Written by David Storey
Based on In Celebration by David Storey
Starring Alan Bates
Bill Owen
Brian Cox
James Bolam
Constance Chapman
Music by Christopher Gunning
Edited by Michael Ellis
Distributed by American Film Theatre
Release dates
March 17, 1975 (US)
Running time
131 minutes
Country United Kingdom
Language English

In Celebration is a 1975 film directed by Lindsay Anderson. It is based in the 1969 stage production of the same name by David Storey which was also directed by Anderson. The movie was produced and released as part of the American Film Theatre, which adapted theatrical works for a subscription-driven cinema series. It was meant to be shown theatrically with tickets sold in advance.[1]


The film stars Alan Bates (recreating his stage role) and takes place in the Derbyshire mining town of Langwith. The Shaws (Bill Owen, Constance Chapman) are celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary and their three sons have come up for a night out at an expensive restaurant. Mr. Shaw is a coal miner of 49 years, who married a woman from a higher social level (Constance Chapman). Mr. Shaw has only one year left until retirement. Mrs. Shaw urged her sons to abandon their father’s mining heritage in pursuit of corporate careers, but the results have not been positive. Andy (Bates), the oldest, became an attorney, but abandoned the work to pursue painting. Colin (James Bolam) was a former Communist party member, who has come to enjoy material (but not emotional) success as a labour negotiator for an automobile company. The youngest brother Steven (Brian Cox) is a teacher, married with four children of his own, who is writing a book, but has not produced any notable published works. The film examines the tensions which develop as the family reunite over the course of one evening. During the family gathering, the parents and their sons recall unpleasant past incidents, including the death of another brother, the mother’s suicide attempt, and the outing of one son as a homosexual.[2]


In Celebration received strong reviews during its theatrical run. Vincent Canby, writing in The New York Times, praised Anderson for having "succeeded in making a very complete, full-bodied film of Mr. Storey's play without being tricky or intrusive…Mr. Anderson has also gotten terrific performances from everyone, especially Mr. Bates, Miss Chapman and Mr. Cox, as the most troubled of the Shaw sons."[3] New York Magazine echoed the sentiment, noting "Anderson and a superb cast have made a harrowing and satisfying suspense drama."[4]


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External links

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