Back then the British film industry was just beginning to find its metaphorical feet, after World War 2. The Boultings gave us many a satirical look at life. In I'm Alright Jack, a brilliantly funny depiction of both the excesses of trade unionism and the corruptness of the captains of industry. Messages from the storyline are still appropriate today in Britain, even more so in the USA.
Corrupt corporations have taken the place of corrupt individual bosses from the ranks of the aristocracy and upper classes. Trades unions, though, have been de-fanged over the years, by conservative governments, leaving the people, the workers, without recourse to right wrongs perpetrated upon them.
In I'm Alright Jack Ian Carmichael played Sidney Windrush, returning from military service, forced to work on the shop floor of his uncle Bertram's missile factory. The controversial appointment was part of an elaborate scheme hatched with partner Sidney Cox (played by the late Richard Attenborough) to secure a lucrative Arab arms deal. But while the pair are confident Windrush's presence will upset the unions, Peter Sellers' character, shop steward Fred Kite, gives them more than they were hoping for.
I found myself feeling miffed when, watching the movie, some time ago, my husband muttered scornfully, "That was exactly the problem - trades unions!" He was duly corrected!
What other avenue did we "the people" ever have? What power do ordinary people now hold? None, except for their votes at election time, votes which can be manipulated by the power of money, and don't seem to mean a whole lot these days.
I found myself envying people of the 1950s, when ordinary folk found their strength in the union movement. Eventually, they did take things too far - human nature once again. It led to their downfall at the hands of the Margaret the Dreadful (Thatcher) in Britain, and various conservative administrations in the USA.
Unions were the tool of the workers. Now they have no tool at all. In the USA, even more so than in Britain, "the people" need to reclaim their power and attempt to de-fang the corporations. But how could that come about?