Paddy's in the Carsey (1966)

A group of Paddington youths enjoy a typical night out as they try to forget their mundane jobs and ‘live for the weekend’ in this cutting-edge documentary.

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Alternative titles

  • Paddy's in the Carsey (Or Boys' Night Out) Alternative

Introduction

Paddy’s in the Carsey would have been something of a diversion for its director John Fletcher, who mostly worked within the confines of sponsored documentary. He had, though, begun his film career working on experimental shorts, and was a key supporting figure in the progressive Free Cinema documentary movement, where he worked alongside Lindsay Anderson, Tony Richardson and Karel Reisz.

With its naturalistic style (bar the very stylised, Keystone Kops-inspired final sequence) and its commitment to a truthful representation of its working-class subjects, Paddy’s in the Carsey strongly conjures the spirit of Free Cinema, particularly Momma Don’t Allow (1956) and We Are the Lambeth Boys (1959), both of which Fletcher edited. All three films follow groups of London teenagers, but while, say, the Lambeth boys were happy with an orange soda at the Alford Youth Club, seven years on, the Paddington lads’ idea of a good night out invariably involves countless pints of Guinness followed by a punch-up on the dancefloor. As one suggests, “people are just more mature these days than what they used to be”.

 

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