"Old Roses" is a quaint English rural drama with a strictly by-the-book setting of obligatory rustic cliché; about the only things missing are the old school-dame and the village duckpond. The juvenile leads are pleasant in appearance and fairly unremarkable in performance, with Nancy Burne unconvincing in the role of a barmaid and Bruce Lister striking no especial sparks as the son of a Northern industrialist turned local squire. The parts are generically written and generically played.
Initial appearances to the contrary, however, these two are not the centre of the story; the film belongs to the character actors, in particular Horace Hodges as the eponymous saintly cottager and Charles Mortimer as the self-made man bullying his way as Lord of the Manor. The performance of Hodges in particular raises the film above the status of tedium, despite a role that could easily have been sickly sweet. He manages to develop the character to such an implied depth that it is something of a disappointment when the script 'cops out' in revealing its big secret and makes him not a repentant knave but a previously-duped fool; from the hints given, I could easily imagine him as an ex-underworld kingpin or Simes (a one-dimensional caricature of evil) as an illegitimate prodigal son...
The film benefits from moments of humour, most of them I think intentional, and suffers from fairly heavy-handed use of music and a variety of stock characters and cod accents. It does have its moments, but as a picture of the English countryside it's certainly nothing to compare to "A Canterbury Tale" or "The Lure of Crooning Water" -- or even "To the Manor Born"!
Not a complete waste of time, but not really worth seeking out.
0 of 0 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?