Wnifred is distraught when she finds a promissory note in her husband's jacket and realizes that he owes £500. He assures her that her father will no doubt be generous when their child is ... See full summary »



(novel), (dramatisation)


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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Eric Porter ...
Garry Marsh ...
Doctor Dewar
Maggie Jones ...
Mischa De La Motte ...
Michael Mulcaster ...
Jenny Laird ...
Campbell Singer ...
Joseph O'Conor ...
Lana Morris ...
Ursula Howells ...
John Welsh ...
Fanny Rowe ...
John Barcroft ...


Wnifred is distraught when she finds a promissory note in her husband's jacket and realizes that he owes £500. He assures her that her father will no doubt be generous when their child is born. They have a son, a few months later. Young Jolyon and Helen also have a baby boy who they call Jolly. Young Jolyon's wife Frances has refused him a divorce and she and June move to the country. Frances is killed in a riding accident however and Old Jolyon decides to take charge of June, to whom he intends to leave his fortune. Soames has taken to spending his weekends visiting Miss Heron and finally asks her to marry him. She is shocked when he professes to love her and rejects his proposal of marriage. He refuses to accept her refusal, continuing to pursue her until she eventually relents, but with conditions. Written by garykmcd

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Release Date:

19 October 1969 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

The Conceit of Happiness
6 September 2015 | by (Cieszyn, Poland) – See all my reviews

In one of the memorable scenes of the episode, Frances (Ursula Howells), filled with bitterness and disappointment caused by her marriage that she calls a 'messy business,' she says to Old Jolyon (Joseph O'Conor): "Children shouldn't be brought up in cities. The values are all wrong." This metaphorically understood 'city' means for her the situation far from simplicity and quietness of the country life where dramas hide behind prefabricated conventions. For the first time, she becomes a very likable character and, after some controversial moments in two previous episodes, her motives get clear. But a bit too late to be liked... The idyll of the country she heads for having refused to divorce Jo, is where she goes and faces her tragic end...

The episode begins with a mainstay style: Jo's meaningful narrative about the Forsytes dressing for dinner a social occasion reveals certain facts and ironies. Carriages roll up to the doors and everything seems to be in perfect order and, yet, occurs to be in a serious disorder resulting in the conceit of happiness. Happiness or bitterness? Or both? Nevertheless, the bitterness of sacrifice may make some people happy...

The centerpiece of "The Pursuit of Happiness" are the births of two children put in great contrast. Donald Wilson frames that contradictory depiction within a very clever plot framing. Jo and Helene's illegitimate child Jolly brings about no rejoicing but merely a bleak prospect for the future viewed from the standpoint of family pride. Winifred and Dartie's child, on the other hand, is a joy for all family, including the gentlemen concerned with possible names for the child. The ideas in a humorous scene of Monty Dartie and George (John Barcroft) range from names of horses to those with a classical ring derived from a Roman studbook. In consequence, no one actually knows what the child is called...Cato or Valerius? Similarly to "A Family Festival" (episode 1) where we had two couples in totally contradictory standpoints, here, we have two births of children. That works perfectly for legal background constantly present here and there as well as some comic moments that supply us with humorous reliefs always appreciated.

As far as humour is concerned, it probably reaches its climax with aunt Juley (Nora Nicholson) coming back from her daily stroll and bringing a homeless dog home much to the dismay of other 'elderly members of the family.' Derived from a short story "Dog at Timothy's," it is a charming moment, a must-see. I particularly enjoyed the following scene at aunt Anne's where the the elderly generation of the Forsytes, including barely tactful uncle Swithin, Timothy (John Baskcomb) enjoying his rest after luncheon, distinguished Jolyon and sweet aunt Juley combine humour with drama. But Donald Wilson lays great emphasis on something else within the ambit of the pursuit of happiness.

That is a new and crucial plot of SOAMES and IRENE, the plot that will develop in many consecutive episodes but plays a crucial role herein. The scene Soames proposes to Irene and she refuses is the embodiment of volcano's impulse erupting on the ground of legal reasoning. Irene, a highly artistic personality referred to a sort of beauty incarnate by John Galsworthy in his novel, a kind of beauty to be possessed displays considerable skepticism towards being a 'mistress of a fine house in London' (as her step mother Mrs Heron played by Jenny Laird, her 'legal guardian' says to her) and a lack of response towards the man she is frank with. She openly says she does not love him. She is a creature to be admired and not touched. Soames, on the other hand, is persistent, indefatigable in his aims and heavily driven by the desire to possess rather than give and share. There is a lovely scene of the two listening to Beethoven concerto. Their reactions to the music make a heavy contrast of perceptions, the perceptions of beauty owned vs. beauty admired. The camera-work also contributes to the emotional and visual resonance of the moment. There is also a nice scene as she tears his love letter and throws the pieces to the sea like an Aphrodite of loveliness diminished by carnal desire around. As long as Irene is not under fear and pressure of being possessed spiritually and carnally, she sticks to all her inner promises. Pity, she puts them aside in the crucial moment, a moment created by Wilson for the needs of dramatization when Lomax (Campbell Singer), her step father tries to rape her. She marries Soames with conditions, reservations and oaths, their oaths which he surely does not take very seriously. But she undergoes this journey from her idyll to a 'city.'

Wedding oath, wedding night, tears... is that all what is left from the pursuit of happiness? Will he win her affection and confidence? Or is it rather the conceit of her happiness?

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