Live Now Pay Later (1962) – Posters
Ron Grainer Original Music
Joe Vegoda: Producer
Jack Hanbury Producer
Jack Lindsay Script
Jack Trevor Story Original Novel
Charles Poulton Sound Department
Jack Trevor Story’s screenplay is taken from Jack Lindsay’s novel, All on the Never-Never, and this cynical tale of the shift from post-war austerity into rampant consumerism has many amusing moments, but overall it is untidy and does not develop the personalities of some of the main characters sufficiently. Extraneous situations are dragged in without helping the plot development over much. Ian Hendry’s seedy salesman has a certain brash, breezy assurance, but no charm,and Hendry plays it to the point of irritation. June Ritchie, as the main girlin the case, confirms the promising impression she made in her debut in A Kind of Loving, but she can do little in this cardboard role of wronged young mistress. John Gregson is effectively cast against type as a dislikeable and amoral character.
Albert Argyle (Ian Hendry) is a smart Alec, philandering, double-crossing tallyman who, with two illegitimate babies to his discredit, still finds that the easiest way to bluff his female patrons into getting hocked up to their eyebrows in credit buying is via the bedroom. His employer, Callendar (John Gregson), has aspirations of building a large department store opposite his current shop on ground in the hands of real estate agent Reggie Corby (Geoffrey Keen). Meanwhile, Albert is trying to patch up a row that he has had with his steady girlfriend, Treasure Hunter (June Ritchie). Tragedy will soon unite Albert, Callendar and Corby, but all three are more selfishly concerned with their own careers.
Live Now, Pay Later is rarely listed alongside such other time capsules as I’m All Right, Jack, Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, A Kind of Loving, Billy Liar or, perhaps most pertinently, Alfie. Yet the film paints a vivid, valuable picture of early-1960s credit boom Britain, when austerity had become prosperity — even if the world was still in black-and-white — and the masses were coming to terms with their newfound spending power and learning to live beyond their means, thanks to the miracle of hire purchase.
Screenplay by Jack Trevor Story
The origins of the film remain somewhat murky. Apparently, film-maker Jay Lewis began by asking the writer Jack Trevor Story — the man who provided the source novel for Hitchcock’s darkly droll The Trouble with Harry — to adapt for the screen a novel by one Jack Lindsay, entitled All on the Never-Never. The book focuses on a housewife who gets into debt and, rather than tell her husband, resorts to prostitution.
This somehow turned into a vaguely related scenario revolving around a cheeky, energetic, bed-hopping jack-the-lad of a door-to-door salesman — or “tally boy” — by the name of Albert Argyle.
The mention of Jack Lindsay’s name in the credits is perhaps explained by the possibility that a subplot involving housewife Liz Fraser’s secretly escalating debt problem may have been directly inspired by Lindsay’s novel.