Cinema: A Rogue's Progress

Nothing but the Best. Under the opening credits come the enchorial strains of God Save the Queen. The camera, floating through a limbo of pound-foolish British affluence, ogles a jeweled clip, a limousine, a blonde, a bottle of expensive brandy. Close behind, and sniffing, comes Alan Bates, steaming with parvenu dreams about an A-type lady and an E-type Jag. "It's a filthy, stinking world," Bates muses, "but there are some smashing things in it." By the time this cheeky, stylish, mordantly funny variation on Room at the Top is over, most of the smashing things are his.

Bates begins as a lowly...

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