John Schlesinger’s comic-strip direction is so bad it is almost nostalgic. This is only Schlesinger’s second film, but the vulgarity of his first—A Kind of Loving—has been almost effortlessly surpassed. Schlesinger is obviously a man to watch for future awards. Everything he does is so wrong that the accumulation of errors resembles a personal style. Yet even if Schlesinger had more talent, the central theme of Billy Liar would remain a dubious one for the movies.
December 19, 1963