"Winifred Holtby realised that Local Government is not a dry affair of meetings and memoranda:- but 'the front-line defence thrown up by humanity against its common enemies of sickness, ...
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"Winifred Holtby realised that Local Government is not a dry affair of meetings and memoranda:- but 'the front-line defence thrown up by humanity against its common enemies of sickness, poverty and ignorance.' She built her story around six people working for a typical County Council:- Beneath the lives of the public servants runs the thread of their personal drama. Our story tells how a public life affects the private life; and how a man's personal sufferings make him what he is in public. " Corruption, intrigue and romance in a Yorkshire setting. A country squire whose wife is in a mental hospital becomes attracted to a crusading local schoolmistress. Written by
Michael Crew <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Basically this is a small town soap opera about the drama in the lives of various members of the town council of a small Yorkshire town. Much of this drama is engineered by the hiring of Sarah Burton, an idealistic new head schoolmistress from a working class background.
Superb acting by Ralph Richardson and Edna Best with strong supporting turns by John Clements and Edmund Gwenn. An adolescent Glynis Johns already has that distinctive voice as Ralph Richardson's high-strung young daughter. Wait for a gorgeous young Ann Todd as Sir Ralph's unstable wife in a flashback sequence. Everyone is quite young here and in good form.
The nuanced characterizations help flesh out a story that ends up being formulaic because a long novel has been compressed into a 84 minute programmer. Because of the compression, characters go from despising each other to being in love in a matter of minutes. Lots of plot lines are tied up and passed by in a pat way. Still quite enjoyable anyway though it could have been more with better writing and direction. I am quite interested in the 1974 miniseries with Dorothy Tutin - the extra time would give the characters more depth and more convincing development.
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