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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 »


(as Anthony Pélissier)


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


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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 ...


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}

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

28 March 1949 (UK)  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


First feature film of Lyndon Brook. See more »


The Innkeeper: What sort of work do you want?
Alfred Polly: I've never properly thought that out.
See more »


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

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User Reviews

Polly earns no crackers
8 November 2015 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

I have to say I was a bit disappointed in The History Of Mr. Polly, I have always thought that H.G.Wells was better at writing science fiction than at social commentary. Many have said he's an early 20th century Charles Dickens, I think he falls short of the mark, especially here.

There's a lot of Walter Mitty in the interpretation that John Mills gives Alfred Polly. He's a dreamer who can't quite find himself, but gets the opportunity to do so when he inherits a large sum of money.

For a man in Edwardian Great Britain that usually meant acquiring a business and becoming a man of property. This Mills does, but it hardly brings him fulfillment. The film is his search to find some kind of place and some kind of fulfillment.

Mills and the rest of the cast do a creditable job in the roles, but I never really got the message of what Wells was trying to say or what his solution to Polly's problem was. Was it settling for peanuts or maybe even crackers?

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