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Finney, Albert 1936–

Finney, Albert 1936-

PERSONAL

Born May 9, 1936, in Salford, Lancashire, England; son of Albert, Sr. (a bookmaker) and Alice (maiden name, Hobson) Finney; married Jane Wenham (an actress), 1957 (divorced, 1961); married Anouk Aimee (an actress), August 7, 1970 (divorced, 1978); children: (first marriage) Simon (film technician). Education: Trained for the stage at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, London.

Career:

Actor, producer, director, and singer. Memorial Enterprises Ltd. (film production company), founder, 1965; Royal Court Theatre, London, associate artistic director, 1972-75; United British Artists, cofounder, 1983; Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, associate member.

Member:

British Actors' Equity Association, Screen Actors Guild.

Awards, Honors:

Emile Little Award, Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, 1955; Film Award, most promising newcomer to leading film roles, and Film Award nomination, best actor, both British Academy of Film and Television Arts, National Board of Review Award, best actor, and Jury Prize, best actor, Mar del Plata Film Festival, 1961, all for Saturday Night and Sunday Morning; New York Film Critics Circle Award, best actor, Volpi Cup, best actor, Venice Film Festival, 1963, Academy Award nomination, best actor, Film Award nomination, best British actor, British Academy of Film and Television Arts, Golden Laurel Award nomination, top comedy performance, Producers Guild of America, Golden Globe Award nomination, best motion picture—actor, 1964, all for Tom Jones; Antoinette Perry Award nomination, best actor in a play, 1964, for Luther; Golden Globe Award, most promising newcomer—male, 1964; LL.D., University of Sussex, 1965; Antoinette Perry Award nomination, best actor in a play, 1968, for A Day in the Death of Joe Egg; Golden Globe Award, best motion picture actor—musical/comedy, Golden Laurel Award nomination, best comedy performance—male, 1971, both for Scrooge; Film Award nomination, best actor, British Academy of Film and Television Arts, 1972, for Gumshoe; Academy Award nomination, best actor, 1974, Film Award nomination, best actor, British Academy of Film and Television Arts, 1975, British Film Award, best actor, Evening Standard, 1976, all for Murder on the Orient Express; LL.D., University of Salford, 1979; Saturn Award nomination, best actor, Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror, 1982, for Wolfen; Film Award nomination, best actor, British Academy of Film and Television Arts, Golden Globe Award nomination, best actor in a motion picture—drama, 1983, both for Shoot the Moon; Academy Award nomination, best actor, Golden Globe Award nomination, best performance by an actor in a motion picture—drama, Silver Berlin Bear, best actor, Berlin International Film Festival, 1984, Film Award nomination, best actor, British Academy of Film and Television Arts, 1985, all for The Dresser; Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award, best actor, 1984, Academy Award nomination, best actor, Golden Globe Award nomination, best performance by an actor in a motion picture—drama, ALFS Award, actor of the year, London Critics Circle Film Awards, 1985, all for Under the Volcano; Joseph Plateau Award, Flanders International Film Festival, 1985; London Evening Standard Award, best actor, 1986, Laurence Olivier Award, best actor in a new play, Society of London Theatre, 1987, both for Orphans; CableACE Award nomination, actor in a theatrical or dramatic special, National Cable Television Association, 1987, for The Biko Inquest; Emmy Award nomination, outstanding lead actor in a miniseries or special, 1990, for The Image; Television Award nomination, best actor, British Academy of Film and Television Arts, 1991, for The Green Man; Boston Society of Film Critics Award, best actor, 1994, for The Browning Version; Television Award nominations, best actor, British Academy of Film and Television Arts, 1997, for Karaoke and Cold Lazarus; Dilys Powell Award, London Film Critics Circle Awards, 1999; Television Award nomination, best actor, British Academy of Film and Television Arts, 1999, for A Rather English Marriage; Sierra Award nomination, best supporting actor, Las Vegas Film Critics Society Awards, Third Place Award, best supporting actor, Boston Society of Film Critics, 2000, Academy Award nomination, best actor in a supporting role, Golden Globe Award nomination, best performance by an actor in a supporting role in a motion picture, Chicago Film Critics Association Award nomination, best supporting actor, Golden Satellite Award nomination, best performance by an actor in a supporting role—drama, International Press Academy, Screen Actors Guild Award, outstanding performance by a male actor in a supporting role, Online Film Critics Society Award nomination, best supporting actor, ALFS Award, British supporting actor of the year, London Critics Circle Awards, Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association, best supporting actor, Blockbuster Entertainment Award nomination, favorite supporting actor—drama, Film Award nomination, best performance by an actor in a supporting role, British Academy of Film and Television Arts, 2001, all for Erin Brockovich; Academy Fellowship, British Academy of Film and Television Arts, 2001; Screen Actors Guild Award (with others), outstanding performance by the cast of a theatrical motion picture, 2001, for Traffic; Emmy Award, outstanding lead actor in a miniseries or movie, 2002, Screen Actors Guild Award nomination, outstanding performance by a male actor in a television movie or miniseries, Golden Satellite Award nomination, best performance by an actor in a miniseries or motion picture made for television, Royal Television Society Award nomination, best actor—male, Golden Globe Award, best performance by an actor in a miniseries or motion picture made for television, Broadcasting Press Guild Award, best actor, Television Award, best actor, British Academy of Film and Television Arts, 2003, all for The Gathering Storm; Golden Globe Award nomination, best performance by an actor in a supporting role in a motion picture, Film Award nomination, best performance by an actor in a supporting role, British Academy of Film and Television Arts, Saturn Award nomination, best actor, Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror Films, best actor, 2004, all for Big Fish.

CREDITS

Stage Appearances:

(Stage debut) Decius Brutus, Julius Caesar, Birmingham Repertory Company, Birmingham, England, 1956.

(London debut) Belzanor, Caesar and Cleopatra, Old Vic Theatre, 1956.

Francis Archer, The Beaux Strategem, Birmingham Repertory Company, 1956-58.

Face, The Alchemist, Birmingham Repertory Company, 1956-58.

Malcolm, The Lizard on the Rock, Birmingham Repertory Company, 1956-58.

Title role, Henry V, Birmingham Repertory Company, 1956-58.

Title role, Macbeth, Birmingham Repertory Company, 1958.

Soya Marshall, The Party, New Theatre, London, 1958.

Edgar, King Lear, Memorial Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, England, 1959.

Cassio, Othello, Memorial Theatre, 1959.

Lysander, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Memorial Theatre, 1959.

Title role, Coriolanus, Memorial Theatre, 1959.

Ted, The Lily-White Boys, Royal Court Theatre, London, 1960.

Billy Fisher, Billy Liar, Cambridge Theatre, London, 1960.

Title role, Luther, Paris International Festival, Theatre des Nations, Paris, then Holland Festival, later Royal Court Theatre, all 1961.

Feste, Twelfth Night, Royal Court Theatre, 1962. (Broadway debut) Title role, Luther, St. James Theatre, 1963.

Title role, Henry IV, Glasgow Citizens Theatre, Glasgow, Scotland, 1963.

Don Pedro, Much Ado About Nothing, Old Vic Theatre, 1965.

John Armstrong, Armstrong's Last Goodnight, Chichester Festival, Chichester, England, 1966.

Jean, Miss Julie, Chichester Festival, 1966.

Harold Gorringe, Black Comedy, Chichester Festival, 1966.

Bri, A Day in the Death of Joe Egg, Brooks Atkinson Theatre, New York City, 1968.

Mr. Elliot, Alpha Beta, Royal Court Theatre, then Apollo Theatre, London, 1972.

Krapp, Krapp's Last Tape, Royal Court Theatre, 1973.

O'Halloran, Cromwell, Royal Court Theatre, 1973.

Phil, Chez Nous, Globe Theatre, London, 1974.

Title role, Hamlet, National Theatre, London, then Old Vic Theatre, both 1975, later Lyttelton Theatre, London, 1976.

Title role, Tamburlaine the Great, Olivier Theatre, London, 1976.

Narrator, Tribute to a Lady, Old Vic Theatre, 1976.

Mr. Horner, The Country Wife, Olivier Theatre, 1977.

Lopakhin, The Cherry Orchard, Olivier Theatre, 1978.

Title role, Macbeth, National Theatre, 1978.

Title role, Uncle Vanya, Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester, England, 1978.

Gary Essendine, Present Laughter, Royal Exchange Theatre, 1978.

John Bean, Has "Washington" Legs?, National Theatre, 1978.

John Armstrong, Armstrong's Last Goodnight, Old Vic Theatre, 1983.

Musgrave, Sergeant Musgrave's Dance, Old Vic Theatre, 1984.

The lawyer, The Biko Inquest, Riverside Studios, London, 1984.

Harold, Orphans, Hampstead Theatre Club, London, then Apollo Theatre, 1986.

J. J. Farr, Phoenix Theatre, London, 1987.

Another Time, Wyndham's Theatre, London, 1989, then Chicago, IL, 1991.

Reflected Glory, Vaudeville Theatre, London, 1992.

Stage Work:

Director, The Birthday Party, Glasgow Citizens Theatre, Glasgow, Scotland, 1963.

Director, The School for Scandal, Glasgow Citizens Theatre, 1963.

Director, Armstrong's Last Goodnight, Old Vic Theatre, London, 1965.

Producer, A Day in the Death of Joe Egg, Comedy Theatre, London, 1967.

Director, The Freedom of the City, Royal Court Theatre, London, 1973.

Director, Loot, Royal Court Theatre, 1975.

Director, Armstrong's Last Goodnight, Old Vic Theatre, 1983.

Director, The Biko Inquest, Riverside Studios, London, 1984.

Director, Sergeant Musgrave's Dance, Old Vic Theatre, 1984.

Film Appearances:

Mick Rice, The Entertainer, Continental, 1959.

Arthur Seaton, Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, Continental, 1960.

Russian soldier, The Victors, Columbia, 1963.

Title role, Tom Jones, Lopert, 1963.

Danny, Night Must Fall, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1964.

Mark Wallace, Two for the Road, Twentieth Century-Fox, 1967.

Title role, Charlie Bubbles, Universal, 1968.

George Smith, The Picasso Summer, 1969.

Title role, Scrooge, National General, 1970.

Eddie Ginley, Gumshoe, Columbia, 1972.

Bleak Moments, 1972.

Mr. Frank Elliot, Alpha Beta, Memorial, 1973.

Hercule Poirot, Murder on the Orient Express (also known as Agatha Christie's "Murder on the Orient Express"), Paramount, 1974.

(Uncredited) Cameo appearance, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes' Smarter Brother (also known as Sherlock Holmes' Smarter Brother), Twentieth Century-Fox, 1975.

Fouche, The Duellists, Paramount, 1978.

Mike Daniels, Loophole (also known as Break In), 1980.

Dr. Larry Roberts, Looker, 1981.

Dewey Wilson, Wolfen, Warner Bros., 1981.

George Dunlap, Shoot the Moon, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer/United Artists, 1982.

Daddy Warbucks, Annie, Columbia, 1982.

Sir, The Dresser, Columbia, 1983.

Geoffrey Firmin the Consul, Under the Volcano, Universal, 1984.

Himself, Observations Under the Volcano, 1984.

Himself, Notes from Under the Volcano, 1984.

Harold, Orphans, Lorimar, 1987.

Leo O'Bannion, Miller's Crossing, 1990.

Warren Odom, Rich in Love, 1992.

Constable Hegarty, The Playboys, 1992.

Andrew Crocker-Harris, The Browning Version, 1994.

Alfie Byrne, A Man of No Importance, 1994.

Danny's father, The Run of the Country, 1995.

Dr. Austin Sloper, Washington Square, Buena Vista, 1997.

Kilgore Trout, Breakfast of Champions, Buena Vista, 1999.

Darryl P. Simms and Ryan Ames, Simpatico, Fine Line Features, 1999.

Ed Masry, Erin Brockovich, Universal, 2000.

Chief of staff, Traffic (also known as Traffic—Die Macht des kartells), USA Films, 2000.

Joan of Arc: The Virgin Warrior, 2000.

Elmore, Delivering Milo, Hannover House, 2000.

Ernest Hemingway, Hemingway, the Hunter of Death, 2001.

Older Ed Bloom, Big Fish, Columbia, 2003.

(Uncredited) Gaspar LeMarque, Ocean's Twelve, Warner Bros., 2004.

Voice of Finis Everglot, Corpse Bride (also known as Tim Burton's "Corpse Bride"), Warner Bros., 2005.

Uncle Henry Skinner, A Good Year, Fox 2000 Pictures, 2006.

John Newton, Amazing Grace, Samuel Goldwyn Films, 2006.

Charles, Before the Devil Knows You're Dead, Capitol Films, 2007.

Film Work:

Producer, Gumshoe, Columbia, 1963.

Producer, Night Must Fall, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1964.

Producer and director, Charlie Bubbles, Universal, 1968.

Producer, if, Paramount, 1969.

Producer, Bleak Moments, British Film Institute, 1972.

Producer, O Lucky Man!, Warner Bros., 1973.

Television Appearances; Series:

Tom Fletcher, Emergency-Ward 10 (also known as Calling Nurse Roberts), 1957.

Title role, My Uncle Silas, PBS, 2000.

Television Appearances; Miniseries:

Daniel Feeld, Karaoke, Bravo, 1996.

Daniel Feeld, Cold Lazarus, Bravo, 1996.

Doctor Monygham, Nostromo (also known as Joseph Conrad's "Nostromo" and Nostromo—Der Schatz in den Bergen), PBS, 1996.

Television Appearances; Movies:

Forget-Me-Not Lane, 1975.

Title role, Pope John Paul II (also known as The Pope), CBS, 1984.

Kentridge, The Biko Inquest, 1984.

Jason Cromwell, The Image, HBO, 1990.

Alec Hillsden, The Endless Game, Showtime, 1990.

Maurice Allington, The Green Man, Arts and Entertainment 1990.

Reggie Conyngham-Jervis, A Rather English Marriage, 1998.

Winston Churchill, The Gathering Storm, 2002.

Title role, My Uncle Silas II, PBS, 2003.

Also appeared in View Friendship and Marriage; The Claverdon Road Job; The Miser.

Television Appearances; Specials:

A Tribute to John F. Kennedy from the Arts, ABC, 1963.

Oliver "Daddy" Warbucks, Lights, Camera, Annie!, 1982.

A Simple Man, 1987.

The Wall: Live in Berlin (also known as The Wall: Berlin 90), 1990.

On the Set of "Washington Square," Polish TV, 1997.

Agnieszka Holland on the Set, 1997.

Reggie Conyngham-Jervis, A Rather English Marriage, PBS, 1998.

(Uncredited) Himself, Hollywood Screens Tests: Take One, AMC, 1999.

(Uncredited) Himself, Hollywood Screens Tests: Take Two, AMC, 1999.

Twentieth Century Fox: The Blockbuster Years, 2000.

The 2000 Blockbuster Entertainment Awards, Fox, 2000.

Spotlight on Location: Erin Brockovich (also kwon as The Making of "Erin Brockovich"), 2000.

The Orange British Academy Film Awards, 2001.

Television Appearances: Episodic:

Face to Face, BBC, 1962.

"David Frost's Night Out in London," ABC Stage 67, ABC, 1967.

Film Night, BBC, 1970.

"Northern Lights," Hollywood U.K., BBC, 1993.

"Albert Finney," The South Bank Show, ITV, 1996.

"The 'Billy Elliot' Boy," Omnibus, BBC, 2001.

Ed Masry, "Erin Brockovich," Intimate Portrait, Lifetime, 2003.

"Big Fish," HBO First Look, HBO, 2004.

"Pa den rode lober med Planet Voice," Planet Voice, 2005.

"Sobre 'Asesinato en el Orient Express,'" Ciclo Agatha Christie, 2005.

"Magic and Make-Believe," Space Top 10 Countdown, The Space Channel, 2007.

Television Work; Movies:

Director, The Biko Inquest, 1984.

RECORDINGS

Albums:

Scrooge (original soundtrack), 1971.

Albert Finney's Album, Motown Records, 1977.

Music Videos:

Appeared in The Avalanches' "Since I Left You."

OTHER SOURCES

Books:

Falk, Quentin, Albert Finney in Character, Robson Books, 1992.

International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers, Volume 3: Actors and Actresses, St. James Press, 1996.

International Dictionary of Theatre, Volume 3: Actors, Directors and Designers, St. James Press, 1996.

Newsmakers, Issue 3, Gale Group, 2003.

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"Finney, Albert 1936–." Contemporary Theatre, Film and Television. . Encyclopedia.com. 23 Jun. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"Finney, Albert 1936–." Contemporary Theatre, Film and Television. . Retrieved June 23, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/finney-albert-1936

Finney, Albert

FINNEY, Albert



Nationality: British. Born: Salford, Lancashire, England, 9 May 1936. Education: Attended Salford Grammar School; Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, London, graduated 1955. Family: Married 1) the actress Jane Wenham, 1957 (divorced 1961), son: Simon; 2) the actress Anouk Aimée, 1970 (divorced 1978). Career: 1955—joined Birmingham Repertory Theatre: stage debut as Decius Brutus in Julius Caesar, 1956; 1958—London debut in The Party; 1959—season with Stratford Shakespeare company; 1960—film debut in The Entertainer; 1963—opens on Broadway in Luther; 1965—joined National Theatre Company; formed stage and television production company Memorial Enterprises Ltd. with Michael Medwin; 1967—directed first film, Charlie Bubbles; 1972–75—associate artistic director, Royal Court Theatre; 1976—played Hamlet in opening production of Lyttelton Theatre; 1990—in TV mini-series The Green Man. Awards: Most Promising Newcomer, British Academy, for Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, 1960; Best Actor, New York Film Critics, and Best Actor, Venice Festival, for Tom Jones, 1963; Acting Award, UK Film Critics' Circle, for Under the Volcano, 1984. Agent: International Creative Management, 388–396 Oxford Street, London W1N 9HE, England.


Films as Actor:

1960

The Entertainer (Richardson) (as Mick Rice); Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (Reisz) (as Arthur Seaton)

1963

Tom Jones (Richardson) (title role); The Victors (Foreman) (as Russian soldier)

1964

Night Must Fall (Reisz) (as Danny, + co-pr)

1966

Two for the Road (Donen) (as Mark Wallace)

1970

The Picasso Summer (Dallin—unreleased); Scrooge (Neame) (title role)

1971

Gumshoe (Frears) (as Eddie Ginley)

1972

Alpha Beta (Page—for TV)

1974

Murder on the Orient Express (Lumet) (as Hercule Poirot)

1975

The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes' Smarter Brother (Gene Wilder) (as guest)

1977

The Duellists (Ridley Scott) (as Fouche)

1980

Loophole (Quested) (as Mike Daniels)

1981

Wolfen (Wadleigh) (as N. York); Looker (Crichton) (as Dr. Larry Rogers)

1982

Shoot the Moon (Parker) (as George); Annie (Huston) (as Daddy Warbucks)

1983

The Dresser (Yates) (as Sir)

1984

Under the Volcano (Huston) (as Geoffrey Firmin); Pope John Paul II (Wise—for TV) (title role)

1986

Looker (Crichton) (Dr. Larry Roberts)

1987

Orphans (Pakula) (as Harold)

1989

The Endless Game (Forbes—for TV) (as Alec Hillsden)

1990

Miller's Crossing (Coen) (as Leo); The Image (Werner—for TV) (as Jason Cromwell)

1991

The Green Man (Moshinsky—for TV) (as Maurice Allington)

1992

The Playboys (MacKinnon) (as Constable Hegarty)

1993

Rich in Love (Beresford) (as Warren Odom)

1994

The Browning Version (Figgis) (as Andrew Crocker-Harris); A Man of No Importance (Krishnamma) (as Alfie Byrne)

1995

The Run of the Country (Yates) (as Father)

1996

Nostromo (Reid—for TV) (as Doctor Monygham); Karaoke (Rye—for TV) (as Daniel Feeld); Cold Lazarus (Rye—for TV) (as Daniel)

1997

Washington Square (Holland) (as Dr. Austin Sloper)

1998

A Rather English Marriage (Seed—for TV) (as Reggie Cunningham-Jarvis)

1999

Simpatico (Warchus) (as Simms); Breakfast of Champions (Rudolph) (as Kilgore Trout)

2000

Erin Brockovich (Soderbergh) (as Ed Masry); Delivering Milo (Castle)




Films as Director:

1967

Charlie Bubbles (+ title role)

1984

The Biko Inquest (co-d with Graham Evans—for TV, + ro as Kentridge)




Publications


By FINNEY: articles—

"Talking about Acting," in Sight and Sound (London), Spring 1961.

Interview in Positif (Paris), June 1969.

Interviews in Photoplay (London), October 1980 and August 1982.

Interview in Time Out (London), 4 November 1987.

Interview in Radio Times (London), 23 May 1992.

Interview in Time Out (London), 10 January 1996.


On FINNEY: book—

Falk, Quentin, Albert Finney in Character: A Biography, London, 1992.

On FINNEY: articles—

Current Biography 1963, New York, 1963.

Shipman, David, in The Great Movie Stars: The International Years, London, 1972.

Films Illustrated (London), October 1977.

National Film Theatre Booklet (London), June 1982.

Radio Times (London), 14 July and 27 October 1990.

Time Out (London), 29 August 1990.

Baldinger, Scott, "Mercurial Master," in Harper's Bazaar, April 1991.

Stars (Mariembourg), Autumn 1995.


* * *

In the late 1950s and early 1960s Britain's angry young men began appearing with increasing frequency on stage and screen, and Albert Finney was the perfect actor to embody the soulful working-class loner. He himself was the son of a bookie, and his combination of charm, energy, and roguish good looks enabled him to personify the angry young man and become one of Britain's rising young talents. His first angry young man characterization came on stage in Billy Liar. But it was his casting in Karel Reisz's Saturday Night and Sunday Morning which earned him his first attention among movie-goers. Finney's Arthur Seaton is an alienated Nottingham factory worker who strikes out against his dreary working-class plight. He may defiantly declare, "Don't let the bastards grind you down," but he is destined to make no holes in the invisible wall separating the classes in England. The actor's gritty performance remains as vital and touching today as in 1960.

Finney next peppered the rebellion of the angry young man with a delightful bawdiness in Tony Richardson's Tom Jones, based on the Henry Fielding novel about a young man's randy adventures in eighteenth-century England. Released in 1963, the film is more than just an entertaining, Oscar-winner. It is a landmark as a forerunner of the sexual revolution of the late 1960s. Finney's performance is crammed with moxie, and is a major star turn. If Saturday Night and Sunday Morning had made him a name among more discerning filmgoers, Tom Jones secured his reputation as a popular movie star.

But Finney is a serious actor, and he chose not to exploit this fame. For the most part, he has carefully selected his screen projects. More often than not, he has given his most interesting performances as unhappy (if not deeply troubled) men whose lives are in a state of crisis. They may have attained a certain degree of material success, but their marriages have failed and their lives are characterized by boredom and indifference. He directed as well as starred in Charlie Bubbles, playing a fabulously successful but otherwise dead-to-the-world writer. In Shoot the Moon, he again is a famous writer whose marriage breaks up. In Two for the Road, he is one-half of a troubled couple who look back on their 12 years of marriage. In Under the Volcano, based on Malcolm Lowry's autobiographical novel, he is especially fine in the complex and demanding role of a self-destructive former British consul, guilt-ridden over his life, who has been abandoned by his wife and is slowly drinking himself into oblivion. Finney also has played character parts: Ebenezer Scrooge in Scrooge, Hercule Poirot in Murder on the Orient Express, and Daddy Warbucks in Annie. Other important roles came in Gumshoe, in which he gave a cleverly funny performance as a Liverpool bingo caller who finds himself playing detective in a murder case, and Miller's Crossing, cast as a mobster and political boss.

In the latter stages of his career, Finney's most poignant performances have come as deluded older men whose inner repressions have not allowed them to fully develop their potential as human beings. He is the entire show in The Browning Version, a middling updating of the Terence Rattigan play, which previously had been filmed in 1951 with Michael Redgrave. Finney offers an emotionally rich performance as Andrew Crocker-Harris, professor of languages at a staid British boys school. After almost two decades on the job, he is resigning because of ill health. It quickly becomes apparent, however, that he has been forced out of his job. He is held in disdain by his wife, who has been cheating on him, and he also is unloved by his students. He has never been an inspiring, caring teacher but rather is a stuffy, efficient bureaucrat who has never learned how to communicate his love of Latin and the classics. The Browning Version is worth seeing for Finney's beautifully modulated performance, as he brings just the right amount of sadness and eloquence to Crocker-Harris.

Finney is equally superb as Alfie Byrne, a friendly, middle-aged bus conductor in A Man of No Importance, set in early 1960s Dublin. Alfie, a bachelor, is obsessed with Oscar Wilde, and is intent upon mounting an amateur theatrical production of Salome. The key to the character is that he is a closeted homosexual, and has a crush on the young driver of his bus. Alfie lives in a society in which homosexuality is an "unspeakable sin." For this reason he not only has kept his sexual preference hidden but also has never dared become involved in a sexual or romantic relationship of any kind. Finney is a joy to watch, especially as he confronts his feelings and laments that his "hands are innocent of affection." His Alfie is a gentle, poetic soul who, unfortunately, was destined to be born at the wrong time and in the wrong place.

With The Browning Version and A Man of No Importance, Finney has effortlessly segued his career into middle-aged character roles. One senses that some of his best screen work is ahead of him.

—Rob Edelman

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Finney, Albert

Albert Finney, 1936–, English actor, b. Salford, Lancashire, studied Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, London. He debuted in the theater in 1956 and has continued to act on the London and New York stage. His best-known work, however, has been in films, beginning with Laurence Olivier's highly acclaimed vehicle The Entertainer (1960). Versatile and prolific, Finney has appeared in well over 50 films, his 1960s leading-man roles giving way to character parts in the 70s. Earlier roles include an unhappy workingman in the realist classic Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (1961) and the randy title character in Tom Jones (1963). Among his later films are Murder on the Orient Express (1974), The Duelists (1977), The Dresser (1983), Miller's Crossing (1990), A Man of No Importance (1994), Washington Square (1997), and Erin Brockovich (2000). He has also acted on television (including a 2002 Emmy-winning performance as Winston Churchill) and directed plays and films.

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