"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, ... See full summary »
"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 <email@example.com>
It may not be an ideal adaptation of the book, but it is a decent film in its own right
As an adaptation of a wonderful book(for me on first reading three years ago it was a perfect remedy when recovering from major back surgery), it is far from ideal, and the 2011 BBC adaptation- not yet seen the 1974 series- apart from the rushed final episode did do a better job telling the story. However any adaptation of the book does deserve to be judged fairly in its own way, and on its own terms this film is decent. It definitely could have had a longer length, as a result of being too short some of the situations and storytelling felt on the jumpy and hastily-told side, so some parts weren't as cohesive as they could have been, and the character of Joe Astell was under-characterised and like a caricature. And while the first half is sumptuous and gritty too much of the latter half is caked in over-sentimentality, and has a slightly late 30s melodrama feel, the themes of the book are all there but not fully expanded. However, the film does look lovely, lovingly shot and with production values true to period, and the Yorkshire sights and sounds are deftly realised. Richard Adinsell's score is as sweeping and hauntingly beautiful as is characteristic of the composer, and the script is literate with some evidence of Winifred Holtby's prose. Victor Ssville directs admirably, and the performances are very good. Ralph Richardson's performance in particular is sensitive and nuanced. Ann Todd touches the soul even as a woman going/gone to madness, Glynis Johns is a charmer and Edna Best is similarly sympathetic. Edmund Gwenn doesn't have a lot to do but is not disappointing either and John Clements does what he can with how Astell is written, giving him elements of sleazy charm. Overall, a decent film on its own but will leave "purists"(sorry, I'll try and think of a better word that sounds less scornful) left wanting. 7/10 Bethany Cox
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