IMDb > This Happy Breed (1944)
This Happy Breed
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This Happy Breed (1944) More at IMDbPro »

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This Happy Breed -- David Lean brings to vivid emotional life Noël Coward's epic chronicle of a working-class family in the London suburbs over the course of two decades. With its mix of politics and melodrama, This Happy Breed is a quintessential British domestic drama, featuring subtly expressive Technicolor cinematography by Ronald Neame and a remarkable supporting cast.

Overview

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7.3/10   1,912 votes »
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Director:
Writers:
David Lean (adaptation)
Anthony Havelock-Allan (adaptation)
(more)
Contact:
View company contact information for This Happy Breed on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
12 April 1947 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Plot:
Noel Coward's attempt to show how the ordinary people lived between the wars. Just after WWI the Gibbons family moves to a nice house in the suburbs... See more » | Full synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Awards:
1 win See more »
User Reviews:
Painted in broad strokes to the detriment of emotional involvement but the focus on the lead two (characters & actors) provide enough high spots to be worth watching See more (40 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Robert Newton ... Frank Gibbons
Celia Johnson ... Ethel Gibbons
Amy Veness ... Mrs. Flint
Alison Leggatt ... Aunt Sylvia

Stanley Holloway ... Bob Mitchell

John Mills ... Billy Mitchell
Kay Walsh ... Queenie Gibbons
Eileen Erskine ... Vi
John Blythe ... Reg Gibbons
Guy Verney ... Sam Leadbitter
Betty Fleetwood ... Phyllis Blake
Merle Tottenham ... Edie
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

Charles King ... Himself (uncredited) (archive footage)

Bessie Love ... Herself (archive footage) (uncredited)

Laurence Olivier ... Narrator (uncredited)

Anita Page ... Herself (archive footage) (uncredited)

Directed by
David Lean 
 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Noel Coward  play (uncredited)
Anthony Havelock-Allan  adaptation
David Lean  adaptation
Ronald Neame  adaptation

Produced by
Noel Coward .... producer
Ronald Neame .... associate producer (uncredited)
 
Original Music by
Muir Mathieson (uncredited)
Clifton Parker (uncredited)
 
Cinematography by
Ronald Neame (photographed by)
 
Film Editing by
Jack Harris 
 
Art Direction by
C.P. Norman 
 
Makeup Department
Tony Sforzini .... makeup artist
Vivienne Walker .... hair stylist
Marjorie Whittle .... assistant hair stylist (uncredited)
 
Production Management
Anthony Havelock-Allan .... in charge of production
Kenneth Horne .... production manager (as Ken Horne)
Jack Martin .... production manager
Robert C. Foord .... assistant production manager (uncredited)
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
George Pollock .... assistant director
Tony Hearne .... third assistant director (uncredited)
 
Art Department
G.E. Calthrop .... artistic supervisor: Mr. Coward
Harold Hurdell .... draughtsman (uncredited)
Arthur Lawson .... assistant art director (uncredited)
 
Sound Department
John Cook .... sound recordist (as John Cooke)
Desmond Dew .... sound recordist
C.C. Stevens .... sound recordist
Cyril Crowhurst .... dubbing editor (uncredited)
Roy Day .... sound camera operator (uncredited)
Walter R. Day .... assistant sound (uncredited)
Percy Dayton .... boom operator (uncredited)
Anthony J. Kay .... dubbing crew (uncredited)
Gus Lloyd .... assistant boom operator (uncredited)
Gordon K. McCallum .... boom operator (uncredited)
George Paternoster .... assistant boom operator (uncredited)
Winston Ryder .... sound camera operator (uncredited)
Alan Whatley .... dubbing crew (uncredited)
 
Special Effects by
W. Percy Day .... special effects (as Percy Day)
George Blackwell .... special effects (uncredited)
 
Visual Effects by
George Blackwell .... models (uncredited)
Charles Staffell .... back projection (uncredited)
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Guy Green .... camera operator
Dennis Bartlett .... clapper loader (uncredited)
Jim Body .... focus puller (uncredited)
B. Francke .... camera operator (uncredited)
David Lytton .... clapper loader (uncredited)
George Minassian .... focus puller (uncredited)
Eugene H.E. Pizey .... still photographer (uncredited)
 
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Hilda Collins .... dress supervisor
 
Editorial Department
Margery Saunders .... assembly cutter (uncredited)
Norah Walsh .... assistant editor (uncredited)
 
Music Department
Muir Mathieson .... musical director
Muir Mathieson .... conductor (uncredited)
 
Other crew
Joan Bridge .... associate technicolor colour director
Harold Haysom .... technician: for the Technicolor Company
Natalie Kalmus .... technicolor color director
Paddy Arnold .... assistant continuity (uncredited)
Maggie Unsworth .... continuity (uncredited)
 
Crew verified as complete


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Additional Details

Also Known As:
Runtime:
Germany:105 min | USA:115 min | UK:114 min
Country:
Language:
Color:
Color (Technicolor)
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)
Certification:
Australia:G | Finland:S | Portugal:M/12 | Sweden:Btl | UK:A (original rating) | UK:U (video rating) (1996) | USA:Approved

Did You Know?

Trivia:
At the start of the scene where Queenie leaves her farewell letter, starting with a shot of rain on the pavement, a couple of bars from the song "Would You Like To Take A Walk?" are heard. This song was made popular by (among others), Annette Hanshaw, and Al Bowlly, who both recorded it in 1931. It originally appeared in the musical "Sweet and Low" There is no screen credit.See more »
Goofs:
Audio/visual unsynchronized: When Bob and Frank are talking in their opening scenes it appears that Frank's words have been changed since filming.See more »
Quotes:
Vi:You can't expect everyone else in the world to think like you doSee more »
Movie Connections:
Features The Broadway Melody (1929)See more »
Soundtrack:
For He's A Jolly Good FellowSee more »

FAQ

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
28 out of 37 people found the following review useful.
Painted in broad strokes to the detriment of emotional involvement but the focus on the lead two (characters & actors) provide enough high spots to be worth watching, 16 November 2004
Author: bob the moo from United Kingdom

When Frank Gibbons returns from the killing fields of World War I, he rejoins his wife Ethel and together they move with their family into a new house in the suburbs of London. The year is 1919 and everything looks rosy for the future. The future holds joy in the shape of children, marriages and friends however it also holds disappointment with, erm, children, marriages, strikes, death and, tragically, more war. Over the following decades we trace the trials and fortunes of the Gibbons family against the backdrop of a changing Britain.

One could argue that Noel Coward may not have been the best placed to write about the live of an ordinary family but he did it reasonably well in his play from what I am told. In this version though the material is stretched to the point of being simplistic as it attempts to cover far too much ground and emotion to be able to fit it into a running time of just over an hour and a half. The story is interesting enough and the amount going on means it is never really dull but the problem is that we never really get deep enough into the stories to be emotionally sold on any thread or character. It jumps so much that it cannot often allow time for subtle half-measures in the plotting and instead has to make sure that its points are heavy and obvious – again taking away from how recognisable the whole affair is. This is not to say that it doesn't have good points, but they come due to consistency in the telling and therefore rely heavily on Frank and Ethel to be core to the telling.

This also means that the film pretty much belongs to Newton and Johnson in the acting stakes. Together they share plenty of quiet moments that show an unspoken hurt or emotion that is more subtle that the events portrayed; they also have a natural chemistry that made me believe that they were a couple and had been for years. The support cast are OK but mostly they are involved in the more extreme plot threads and are forced to ditch patience and subtlety as a result – but then people like Mills, Holloway, Walsh, Leggat et al are still interesting enough to be worth watching and none of them give anything like a bad performance, but they pale beside the lead pair.

Overall this is a good film but it is painted in broad strokes across decades and this reduces the emotional impact and involvement that it has. There are moments of course and the story is interesting enough even with its flaws but the film relies heavily on the lead pair. Narrative wise the film is never better than when it is tightly focused on the hearts of Frank and Ethel and acting wise it is dominated by the solid chemistry between Newton and Johnson.

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See more (40 total) »

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