Before creating the beloved courtroom drama Rumpole of the Bailey, writer John Mortimer found inspiration in his own life for this portrait of a difficult but enduring love between father and son in mid-20th-century Britain. Screen legend Laurence Olivier stars as the eccentric patriarch--a blind barrister so stubborn and cantankerous that he refuses to acknowledge his sightlessness. Alan Bates (Gosford Park) portrays his devoted son, who follows his father's footsteps in the law while longing to become a writer, with Jane Asher (Brideshead Revisited) as his wife. Adapted for the screen by Mortimer himself 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?
There had been an attempt to make a theatrical version with Rex Harrison
in 1973/74 but after just a few weeks filming it ran out of money. Edward Fox
also starred and he mentioned that none of the scenes filmed involved Harrison - apparently his agent was dubious that the producers had sufficient funds in place. See more
They shipped him off to the Colonies, and he never understood why!