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 ...
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Henry Hobson is a successful bootmaker, a widower and a tyrannical father of three daughters. The girls each want to leave their father by getting married, but Henry refuses because marriage traditions require him to pay out settlements.
Brenda de Banzie
Categorised as a British World War II propaganda film this less known example is a superb work of morale-boosting films from mid World War 2. Well written and directed the film has a simple... See full summary »
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 <email@example.com>
The title is taken from a monologue of John of Gaunt's in William Shakespeare's "Richard II", act II, scene 1, which is widely renowned for its stirring pro-Anglicism. It reads, in part, "This happy breed of men, this little world, / This precious stone set in the silver sea, / Which serves it in the office of a wall, / Or as a moat defensive to a house, / Against the envy of less happier lands, / This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England." See more »
When Bob and Frank are talking in their opening scenes it appears that Frank's words have been changed since filming. See more »
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 Viewable only as an historical document?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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