Before creating the beloved courtroom drama Rumpole of the Bailey (1978), writer John Mortimer found inspiration in his own life for this portrait of a difficult but enduring love between father and son in mid twentieth century Britain. Screen legend Sir Laurence Olivier stars as the eccentric patriarch, a blind barrister so stubborn and cantankerous that he refuses to acknowledge his sightlessness. Sir Alan Bates (Gosford Park (2001)) portrays his devoted son, who follows his father's footsteps in the law while longing to become a writer, with Jane Asher (Brideshead Revisited (1981)) as his wife. Adapted for the screen by Mortimer and filmed largely on-location at his family estate in bucolic Oxfordshire, this production garnered multiple awards, including an International Emmy for best drama. By turns hilarious and heartbreaking, it captures the special bond between father and son, which at times seems unbearable, but ultimately unbreakable.
Did You Know?
The house in which the family lived is the house in which author John Mortimer
and his parents lived, and where the author lived until his death in 2009. The gardening hat that Sir Laurence Olivier
wore belonged to John Mortimer's father. See more
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