'TCM Memorial Tribute: Albert Finney' Looks Back on 5 Iconic Films

Rick and Christina Gables
Tom Jones Courtesy of TCM

As Roger Fristoe so apply pointed out, the late Albert Finney was the last of a generation of great British actors that also included Richard Burton, Peter O'Toole, Richard Harris and Alan Bates.

He added, “Virile and earthy, with a charisma that brought sympathy to his rough-hewn characters, Finney projected a working-class vitality and directness.”

TCM Memorial Tribute: Albert Finney will air on Thursday, July 25. Finney appeared in more than 40 movies and garnered five Oscar nominations. He also enjoyed over 15 major theater credits, and the distinguished British actor Sir Alec Guinness once described Finney as "a shiny English apple."

Here are the movies in TCM's tribute (all times are ET/PT):

8:00 PM     Annie (1982)
A big-screen version of the Broadway hit based on Harold Gray's Little Orphan Annie comic strip, Annie  stars Finney as Daddy Warbucks, along with Carol Burnett as Miss Hannigan, Tim Curry as Rooster and Bernadette Peters as Lily. The film marks the only time in John Huston's 40-year directing career that he helmed a musical. Critic Roger Ebert wrote that, "If there is a center to the film, it belongs to Albert Finney."

Annie Courtesy of TCM

10:15 PM    Tom Jones (1963)
Tom Jones affords Finney another great role as the title character of Henry Fielding's classic 18th century novel, which was adapted by John Osborne and directed with great imagination by Tony Richardson. A lovable rascal who is stigmatized as a bastard, Tom loves the gentle Sophie (Susannah York) but becomes entangled with the lusty Lady Bellaston (Joan Greenwood). This bawdy classic was nominated for 10 Oscars (including one for Finney and three for supporting actresses) and won four (including Best Picture, Director and Adapted Screenplay).

12:30 AM     Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (1960)
Starring Finney as Arthur, a young machinist in Nottingham who spends his weekends carousing, Saturday Night and Sunday Morning was a significant entry in the British New Wave of filmmaking. Tony Richardson produced, Karel Reisz directed and Alan Sillitoe wrote the screenplay and the novel on which it is based. Shirley Anne Field costars as Finney's girlfriend, and Rachel Roberts is the older, married woman with whom he has an affair. Critic Philip Horne writes in The Telegraph that, as conveyed by Finney, Arthur's "mixture of aggression and decency makes him one of the great characters of British cinema."

Night Must Fall Courtesy of TCM

2:15 AM     The Dresser (1983)
The Dresser is a British film version of Ronald Harwood's stage success, adapted by Harwood himself and directed by Peter Yates. Finney plays Sir, a once-great, now faltering old-school actor performing at a regional theater in Britain during World War II. His slavishly devoted and longsuffering dresser, Norman, is played by Tom Courtenay. These two brilliantly matched actors were nominated for Oscars, BAFTA Awards and Golden Globes for their performances.

 4:30 AM     Night Must Fall (1964)
A reworking of the Emlyn Williams classic stage thriller, Night Must Fall (1964) was originally filmed in 1937 with Robert Montgomery as the ingratiating bellhop who is really a psychopathic killer. Finney takes on the role in this remake, adapted by Clive Exton and directed by Karel Reisz. Reaction was divided between those who resented changes made to the original and others who appreciated Reisz's more explicit style and Finney's compelling performance.

 Annie (1982) at 8/7c; Tom Jones (1963) at 10:15/9:15c; Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (1960) at 12:30a/11:30c; The Dresser (1983) at 2:15a/1:15c; Night Must Fall (1964) at 4:30a/3:30c, TCM