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The Anniversary (1968)

Approved | | Comedy, Drama, Thriller | 18 February 1968 (UK)
Three sons who work in the family construction business help their overbearing mother celebrate her anniversary to her late husband.



(screenplay), (from the stage play by)

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Complete credited cast:
Mrs. Taggart
Karen Taggart
Terry Taggart
James Cossins ...
Henry Taggart
Tom Taggart
Elaine Taylor ...
Shirley Blair
Mr. Bird
Sally-Jane Spencer ...
Arnold Diamond ...
Albert Shepherd ...
Construction Worker
Ralph Watson ...
Construction Worker


On the celebration of the anniversary of Mrs. Taggart, her three dominated sons come to her house for the party. Terry, Henry and Tom Taggart work in construction, in a business that belonged to their father and is presently managed by their manipulative mother. Tom brings his pregnant fiancée Shirley Blair to tell his mother that they will marry each other; Terry brings his wife Karen Taggart and they secretly intend to emigrate to Canada; and Henry is gay and loves to wear women's underwear. During the night, the mean Mrs. Taggart uses the most despicable means and tricks to get rid off Shirley and Terry and keep her sons close to her. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


I Spy with my little eye Something beginning with SEX . . . and I mean to put a stop to it See more »


Comedy | Drama | Thriller


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

18 February 1968 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

El aniversario  »

Box Office


$1,450,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Seth Holt was asked to direct. See more »


Mrs. Taggart: [on being accused of actively hoping Shirley would miscarry] God! *What* kind of a woman do you think I am?
Tom Taggart: I'll tell you. You wouldn't have been content just knitting away during the French Revolution like the other hags. Oh, no. You'd have been up there working the guillotine yourself! And *then* you'd have gone around with the basket, selling the heads for doorstops!
See more »


Version of La verdad de Laura (2002) See more »


The Anniversary Song
(Waves of the Danube)
Lyrics by Al Jolson and Saul Chaplin
Music by Iosif Ivanovici
Adapted by Saul Chaplin
Performed by The New Vaudeville Band
See more »

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User Reviews

Hammer deliver a perfectly pitched black comedy!
21 June 2006 | by (Beverley Hills, England) – See all my reviews

Hammer studios are, of course, most famous for their horror productions; but the studio also gave us a number of films from other genres, and The Anniversary is a huge non-horror highlight! This camp and perfectly pitched black comedy is directed by one of the studio's heavyweight directors, Roy Ward Baker and is probably most famous for the fact that it stars the great Bette Davis in the sort of role that made her famous. However, the positive elements don't end there as The Anniversary benefits from a strong script and a varied array of characters that ensure the action is always entertaining and filled with tension. The film is an obvious inspiration for modern hits such as the Danish 'Festen', and works due its claustrophobic setting and well drawn characters. The central plot is brilliantly simple, and follows a family gathering for the anniversary of an overbearing mother and her late husband. She demands the presence of her three sons; a shy cross-dresser, a henpecked father of five and a careless youth who brings a different fiancé to meet his mother every year - and proceeds to rip them to pieces.

Bette Davis is undoubtedly the lead star of this production, and she completely controls every scene she's in; thus giving a huge compliment to the support cast, who all give realistic and interesting performances. Sheila Hancock, Jack Hedley, James Cossins, Christian Roberts and Elaine Taylor provide perfect support for Davis, and the combined cast give credibility to a script that could have ended up giving way to a comical film. The film is based on a stage play by Bill MacIlwraith, and perhaps the best thing about his writing is the way he manages to bring out traits from the vindictive matriarch in all three of her sons. As you'd expect, it's Bette Davis who gets the best lines and seeing the great actress have fun delivering them is brilliantly entertaining and ensures that the black comedy elements always shine through. The central setting - the parental home - makes up the backbone of the story and is an ingenious place for the story to take place, as we're always aware that the support characters are very much in Davis' domain and the fact that most of the action takes place under one roof means that claustrophobia is a big part of the story. This film may be avoided by some Hammer fans who are only interested in the horror - but it really shouldn't be. I don't hesitate to name this as one of the very best films Hammer ever made and it comes highly recommended to all!

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