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Old Roses (1935)

 -  Crime  -  July 1935 (UK)
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Cast

Cast overview:
Horace Hodges ...
Johnnie Lee
Nancy Burne ...
Jenny Erroll
Bruce Lester ...
Chris Morgan (as Bruce Lister)
...
John Morgan
Felix Aylmer ...
Lord Sandelbury
Wilfred Walter ...
Sweeton
Esme Church ...
Mrs. Erroll
George Hayes ...
Simes
Eric Portman ...
Lou
Trefor Jones ...
Singing Gypsy
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Crime

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July 1935 (UK)  »

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(Visatone Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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User Reviews

 
Cod accents but a strong character performance
28 April 2009 | by (England) – See all my reviews

"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.


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