7.3/10
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49 user 29 critic

This Happy Breed (1944)

Not Rated | | Comedy, Drama | 12 April 1947 (USA)
Noël Coward's attempt to show how the ordinary people lived between the wars. Just after World War I, the Gibbons family moves to a nice house in the suburbs. An ordinary sort of life is ... See full summary »

Director:

David Lean

Writers:

David Lean (adapted for the screen by), Ronald Neame (adapted for the screen by) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Robert Newton ... Frank Gibbons
Celia Johnson ... Ethel Gibbons
Amy Veness Amy Veness ... Mrs. Flint
Alison Leggatt Alison Leggatt ... Aunt Sylvia
Stanley Holloway ... Bob Mitchell
John Mills ... Billy Mitchell
Kay Walsh ... Queenie
Eileen Erskine ... Vi
John Blythe ... Reg
Guy Verney Guy Verney ... Sam Leadbitter
Betty Fleetwood Betty Fleetwood ... Phyllis Blake
Merle Tottenham ... Edie
Edit

Storyline

Noël Coward's attempt to show how the ordinary people lived between the wars. Just after World War I, the Gibbons family moves to a nice house in the suburbs. An ordinary sort of life is led by the family through the years with average number of triumphs and disasters until the outbreak of World War II. Written by Steve Crook <steve@brainstorm.co.uk>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

A Sweeping Panorama of Living

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

12 April 1947 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Heureux mortels See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

GBP200,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(1944) (theatrical)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

At the start of the scene where Queenie (Kay Walsh) leaves her farewell letter, starting with a shot of rain on the pavement, a couple of bars from the song "Would You Like To Take A Walk?" are heard. This song was made popular by (among others), Annette Hanshaw, and Al Bowlly, who recorded it in 1931. It originally appeared in the musical "Sweet and Low". There is no screen credit. See more »

Goofs

In the opening sequence (DVD Timing at 2.30), the bathroom window opens out to the right. Later, when Reg opens the window to talk to his father who is in the garden (DVD Timing at 46.35), the window opens out to the left. Then during the closing sequence, the window reverts to being open to the right. See more »

Quotes

Frank Gibbons: [at the Wembley exhibition] I brought them here to see the glories of Empire, and all they think about is going on the dodgems...
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: This is the story of a London family from 1919 to 1939. See more »

Connections

Version of Ford Star Jubilee: This Happy Breed (1956) See more »

Soundtracks

For He's A Jolly Good Fellow
(uncredited)
Traditional
Sung by the crowd to the Prime Minister
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A very British class act
15 October 2006 | by g-hbeSee all my reviews

Old-fashioned? Arch dialogue? Stiff acting? Viewable only as an historical document? Guilty on all counts, but this film still captivates. Made during the second World War, it was probably intended as a flag-waver, a morale booster for the worn-down citizens of Britain, but in fact is much more than that. The story (Noel Coward) deals with the lives and times of an ordinary family in 'between the wars' London. There is nothing dramatic, just the everyday events and the weddings, births and funerals that visit us all. However, there are some wonderfully quiet scenes - the father-to-son talk before the son's wedding is especially notable for its old-fashioned moral uprightness, the way the camera lingers in an empty room when the family learns of a terrible road accident, and Frank's gentle chat with his neighbour over a few glasses of whisky as they prepare to go their separate ways. Director David Lean handles these with care and reserve. The way the family deals with the mini-dramas that beset them was no doubt meant to say to the war-weary people that we may be a middling, grey little society with predictable ways, but it was worth fighting for. The film always leaves me a little melancholy, missing an age that still existed in many ways when I was a youngster. No doubt to a modern cinema audience that can't manage without an explosion or car-chase every ten minutes this would be regarded as dull and boring, but I love its charm.


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