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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
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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

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:

£200,000 (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

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 »

Goofs

When Bob and Frank are talking in their opening scenes it appears that Frank's words have been changed since filming. See more »

Quotes

Narrator: After four long years of war, the men are coming home.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Connections

References Desert Love (1920) See more »

Soundtracks

Rule Britannia
(uncredited)
Lyrics by James Thomson
Music by Thomas Augustine Arne
Sung by Frank and Bob coming home after their reunion
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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