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Cocktails in the Kitchen (1954)

For Better, for Worse (original title)
In postwar London a young graduate and his girlfriend decide to marry. Her well-to-do parents are not convinced, but they agree once he has got a £5.10.0 job and a 30/- a week single-room ... See full summary »



(additional dialogue), | 2 more credits »

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Nominated for 2 BAFTA Film Awards. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Tony Howard
Anne Purves
Anne's Father
Anne's Mother
Athene Seyler ...
Miss Mainbrace
Pia Terri ...
Mrs. Debenham
The Plumber
Mrs. Doyle
George Woodbridge ...
Charles Victor ...
The Foreman
Car Salesman
Edwin Styles ...
Anne's Boss
Mary Law ...
Girl in the Office.


In postwar London a young graduate and his girlfriend decide to marry. Her well-to-do parents are not convinced, but they agree once he has got a £5.10.0 job and a 30/- a week single-room flat. The newly-weds find money fearfully tight, the flat cramped, the neighbours a trial, and her parents always hovering. Can faith conquer all? Is there some way of getting rid of tea-leaves except down the sink? Written by Jeremy Perkins {J-26}

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

marriage | based on play | See All (2) »


Comedy | Romance


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Release Date:

20 June 1955 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Cocktails in the Kitchen  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)



Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Film debut of Jocelyn Lane. See more »


Version of For Better, for Worse (1953) See more »


For Better, for Worse
Written by Sam Coslow
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User Reviews

Too unremittingly 'pleasant'?
31 January 2006 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

"For Better, For Worse" is a representative example of comfy cosy middle-class 1950s British cinema. Tony (Dirk Bogarde) and Ann (Susan Stephen) are an awfully nice young couple of newly-weds from upper middle-class families who find it expensive to set up home in the West End of London. They have to settle for a rented studio flat with furniture on hire purchase. Being much in love, Ann really doesn't mind living in a style decidedly more modest than that to which she is accustomed - but how does one host a proper dinner-party in such very trying circumstances?

There are various reasons for their finding themselves in this dilemma. Perhaps the most plausible is the housing shortage of the time. Then Tony, though educated at Charterhouse and Oxford, can find work only as a grade-three clerk on £5 10s per week. Strange this, given that the 1950s were not a time of especially high unemployment. Ann cannot take a job herself: "My fiancé thinks a woman's place is in the home". They are too proud to accept money from Mummy and Daddy, so they have to make do as best they can. "There are hundreds of us in the same boat," exclaims Tony. This nod in the direction of socio-economic criticism hardly convinces.

Genteel light comedy of this sort depends on its charm. Bogarde gives his usual proficient performance (on the lines of his Simon Sparrow in the 'Doctor' series). Susan Stephen seemed considerably less effective in the eyes of this viewer - not sufficiently appealing, to be frank - but what constitutes charm is always very subjective. Dennis Price and Peter Jones do their comic turns as an estate-agent and a second-hand car-dealer - rather like their roles in the later (and much funnier) "School for Scoundrels" - though even these apparently shady characters turn out be rather nice really. The working-class types (chief among them a charlady played by Thora Hird) are all predictably quaint.

British comedy films of the 1950s are commonly attacked as bland, complacent, shallow, and 'unduly bourgeois'. Often I would wish to rally to the defence. In the case of "For Better, For Worse", however, it would surely be far wiser not to give battle.

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