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Bob Grove, a builder has problems with the council, over building supplies that he needs to complete a job on a local housing estate. Under pressure to finish the job, his son gets them from a local crook. When the council find out, they call in the police, so the Grove family get together, to clear themselves, in time for the grand opening. Written by
"It's A Great Day" was based on an early British television series, "The Grove Family", first transmitted in 1954 and apparently named after the BBC's Lime Grove Studio where it was filmed. The script for the film was written by Roland and Michael Pertwee, father and brother of Jon Pertwee, a stalwart of British cinema, television and radio, now best remembered as one of the many incarnations of Dr. Who. The film features all the original television cast members.
The film is a typical quota quickie spin-off from a television series. For those of you unfamiliar with the term "quota quickie", a word of explanation. After the War, Britain was an economic mess. In order to stem the flow of box office takings to Hollywood and to encourage the production of home-made pictures, a quota system was introduced under which a fixed percentage of footage shown in every cinema had to be British. Unfortunately, this rather backfired and the market was flooded with cheap and poorly made films which, despite being frequently unwatchable, were virtually guaranteed a showing. The quota was strictly enforced and many cinemas ended up in court for failure to meet its requirements. It is reported that some of the more prestigious cinemas partly fulfilled the requirements by showing these films to the cleaners first thing in the morning! Despite its humble origins and low budget, an effort was made to instil some drama, suspense and humour into the film and it would no doubt have appealed to that quarter of the British population, who regularly watched the series on television.
The story revolves around the patriarch of the family, building contractor Bob Grove, who is desperately trying to find floor tiles to complete the council housing estate, which is shortly to be opened by Princess Margaret. He is particularly keen to finish the job, as he and his family are on the guest list to meet the Princess. Although the film was made a decade after the war finished, it was only in that year that all restrictions on building materials were finally lifted and many materials were still in short supply. In his innocence Bob buys stolen tiles from crook Charlie Mead, an acquaintance of his son Jack.
The Borough Surveyor does not like Bob and, when he suspects that the tiles were stolen, he sets the police on Bob and rescinds the invitation to meet the Princess. Although Bob is finally exonerated, it is too late to get back on the guest list but then guess whose house Princess Margaret's representative has chosen for her to visit for afternoon tea? So, all ends well.
Along the way, we are treated to son Jack's and daughter Pat's romantic interludes, young Lennie's dangerous escapade on some unstable scaffolding and numerous acerbic, and very humorous, asides from Gran, played admirably by Nancy Roberts.
Nowadays, the film is of more interest as a nostalgic piece of 1950's family life the extended family with the crotchety old granny sitting in the corner making critical comments; the parents in their forties, who look a ten years older; the somewhat stiff and respectful relationship between parents and children; the reverence in which the royal family was held; and, of course, the décor, furnishings, clothes, cars etc.
This film is one for the nostalgia buffs and those interested in early British television. Like many of the quota quickies, it is very parochial, and would be unlikely to travel well. It turns up from time to time in one of the lesser satellite channels and is certainly much more entertaining than the majority of the other quota quickies shown.
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