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The History of Mr. Polly (1949)

Approved | | Drama | 28 March 1949 (UK)
Quiet and somewhat direction-less, Alfred Polly uses the money he inherits from his father to marry and to set up shop in a small town. His heart is in neither of these enterprises and he ... See full summary »

Director:

(as Anthony Pélissier)

Writers:

(by), (adapted for the screen by) (as Anthony Pélissier)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Betty Ann Davies ...
Megs Jenkins ...
...
Gladys Henson ...
Diana Churchill ...
Shelagh Fraser ...
Edward Chapman ...
Dandy Nichols ...
...
...
Laurence Baskcomb ...
Edie Martin ...
Moore Marriott ...
David Horne ...
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Storyline

Quiet and somewhat direction-less, Alfred Polly uses the money he inherits from his father to marry and to set up shop in a small town. His heart is in neither of these enterprises and he eventually resorts to desperate measures to break free. His random wanderings in the countryside lead him to a new opportunity that just might be what he's been looking for all along. Written by Jeremy Perkins {J-26}

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Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Release Date:

28 March 1949 (UK)  »

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Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The scene where Finlay Currie, playing Uncle Jim, first menaces John Mills, playing Alfred Polly, mirrors the scene early in Great Expectations (1946) in which Finlay Currie, playing the convict Magwitch, menaces young Pip. John Mills played Pip as an adult in that film. See more »

Quotes

The Innkeeper: Have you ever been to prison?
Alfred Polly: Never.
The Innkeeper: Nor reformatory?
Alfred Polly: Not me. Do I look reformed?
See more »

Connections

Remade as The History of Mr. Polly (1959) See more »

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User Reviews

Interesting light tale but the style doesn't match the content
11 November 2002 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Alfred Poly is a timid young man who reads and enjoys a life of leisure. His daydreaming losses him job after job and he finds his daydreams all he's left with. After the death of his father he marries a girl because it seems the right thing to do and they plan to open a shop together. 15 years later he is married to an abusive spiteful wife and feeling trapped in his little life. Plans to burn his shop down and kill himself led him to become a hero and decide to strike out to make a new life for himself.

Based on HG Wells story (which I have not read) this classic film is a reasonable little tale that maybe suffers from being too short. The plot spans something like 20 years (most of which is covered by a subtitle) and doesn't give us enough time to really get to know Poly well enough to get behind him. Instead the film tries to have a sort of light comedic feel to it. However for me this doesn't sit well with the subject of a man's life and the journey he eventually decides to make.

Some of it is amusing enough but really I needed to feel more for Poly. The fast track and the set pieces prevented me knowing enough about him to care beyond the fact that he wants a mediating quiet life - but this fact is painted thick without developing character. The actual moral of the tale is difficult to reach but appears to be about overcoming personal weakness to have the life you want, as seen in Poly's final journey.

Mills is good in the lead but does lay on the whole `I want a quiet life' thing a bit thick and doesn't blend it well with the comedic touches (although he does do these well). The support cast are fine but do tend to drift in and out of Poly's history. Although they do help to know Poly better as they reflect his changing life and they all have an impact on who he is.

Overall this is very light when it should have had better character development and the comedy doesn't sit well with the heavier tale of Poly's search for the life he wants.


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