The first film to be produced under Richard Attenborough and Bryan Forbes’s newly formed production company, Beaver Films, The Angry Silence is a politically charged drama and an early example of the British New Wave of cinema that was emerging in the early 1960s. The screenplay, which won the Best British screenplay Award at the 1961 BAFTAs, was based on a story idea by brothers Richard Gregson and Michael Craig (who also stars in the film) and garnered an Oscar nomination the same year.
Tom Curtis (Richard Attenborough) and his wife Anna (Pier Angeli) are expecting a child. At the factory where Tom works, a new employee, Travers (Alfred Burke), in collusion with shop steward Connolly (Bernard Lee) begin complaining about conditions and provoke an unjustified wildcat strike. When voting against the proposed strike takes place, Tom is surprised and dismayed when his friend Joe (Michael Craig), suddenly abstains from voting. Before long, Travers attracts a wave of support in the factory and the men come out on strike but, after Connolly threatens his family, Tom decides to cross the picket line. When the men finally return to work, Tom finds himself totally alienated by his workmates who dub him a scab. When the media become aware of the story, a journalist (Bryan Forbes) puts Tom’s plight into the national headlines. Features an early appearance from the then unknown Oliver Reed.
The Digital Film restoration was funded by STUDIOCANAL in collaboration with the BFI’s Unlocking Film Heritage programme (awarding funds from the National Lottery).