Finney’s first major role was in 1960 in the film “Saturday Night and Sunday Morning,” one of the early British dramas about angry young men.
In 1968, I believe Finney reached the pinnacle of his art when he directed and starred in “Charlie Bubbles.” Finney plays Charlie Bubbles, a successful London-based author, who returns to Manchester to visit his son and ex-wife, played by Billie Whitelaw.
I have always been a fan of British cinema, especially “Kitchen Sink” films like John Osborne’s 1956 movie ” Look Back in Anger,” starring Richard Burton, a Finney contemporary.
Unlike “Look Back In Anger” which is filmed an apartment, with a kitchen and bathroom, Charlie Bubbles takes the audience outside to a football/ soccer match and to a swanky restaurant.
Some scenes really stuck with me when I first saw the beautifully photographed black and white film. The scenes are still with me many years later.
Finney drove a Rolls Royce through parts of Manchester where the buildings are crumbling and there were vacant lots next to more vacant lots.
Yet a marching band appears for no reason, and he follows the sounds of the drums, trumpets, cymbals and the uniformed band members into the center of town.
The film was first time I heard mention of organically grown vegetables.
Liza Minnelli had a bit part in the film as Finney’s secretary, long before she would give an Oscar-winning performance in the 1972 film “Cabaret.”
His best friend in Charlie Bubbles is “Smokey Pickles” played by Colin Blakely.
Smokey Pickles knows Charlie Bubbles is a famous writer, but he doesn’t consider writing real work. Several times, he asks Bubbles, “What do you do all day?”
When Charlie Bubbles checks into a Manchester Hotel, the butler asks him if he is writing or working. Bubbles smiles. “I writing,” he answers.
Finney appeared in better known films than “Charlie Bubbles.” They included “Erin Brockovich” with Julia Roberts. The film was based on a true story. Another popular film was “The Dresser.”
Finney was nominated for five Oscars but never won. He didn’t win with the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Science, but he won with me. I decided to print an article about Finney in BlackmansStreet.Today because I considered him a great artist.