Albert Finney stars as, and makes his directorial debut in, Charlie Bubbles, an enigmatic comedy-drama concerning a materially successful man, fighting vainly the old ennui.
Charlie Bubbles is a working-class author made good, bored and disillusioned by his privileged way of life.
After passing his time carousing with best mate Smokey Pickles (Colin Blakely), Charlie returns to his native Manchester and indulges in a brief encounter with his secretary Eliza (Liza Minnelli) whilst also attempting to disentangle his relationship with estranged wife Lottie (Billie Whitelaw) and undertaking a silent trip to Old Trafford with his alienated son Jack (Timothy Garland).
The screenplay by Shelagh Delaney is essentially little more than the elucidation of a point made obvious within the first ten minutes and requires direction which is dynamic both physically and artistically.
Unfortunately, viewers are bound to experience the same tedium due to underplayed acting and Finney’s limp ‘mod’ direction.
Among the cast, Whitelaw scores best as Charlie’s vitriolic wife. Minelli gets a trifle cloying in her adult film debut, but is okay.
Colin Blakely, Finney’s booze companion, has some bright moments, and Alan Lake as a pushy hitchhiker scores neatly.
Charlie Bubbles became a cause celeb when denied widespread distribution by Rank despite a Best Supporting Actress BAFTA for Billie Whitelaw.