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Archive for January 31st, 2012

by Allan Fish

(UK 1953 107m) DVD1/2

Be back in half an hour

p  Norman Spencer  d  David Lean  w  Norman Spencer, Wynyard Browne, David Lean  play  Harold Brighouse  ph  Jack Hildyard  ed  Peter Taylor  m  Malcolm Arnold  art  Wilfrid Shingleton  cos  Peter Taylor

Charles Laughton (Henry Horatio Hobson), Brenda de Banzie (Maggie Hobson), John Mills (Willie Mossop), Daphne Anderson (Alice Hobson), Prunella Scales (Vicky Hobson), Richard Wattis (Albert Prosser), Derek Blomfield (Freddy Beenstock), Helen Haye (Mrs Hepworth), Joseph Tomelty (Jim Heeler), Jack Howarth (Tubby), Julien Mitchell (Sam Minns), Gibb McLaughlin (Tudsbury), Philip Stainton (Denton), John Laurie (doctor), Raymond Huntley (Nathaniel Beenstock), Edie Martin (customer),

If we are being absolutely honest, Hobson’s Choice doesn’t quite come close enough to perfection to automatically guarantee a place here.  The main problem is no fault of the film, but rather the play on which it was based; namely, that the final act is a redundant epilogue which brings the audience down from the highs of the first three. 

            We find ourselves in Salford in around 1880.  One Henry Horatio Hobson, as pompous as his name, is the owner of a bootmaker’s.  Hobson is a widower after his wife left for a higher place and is left with three daughters.  The two youngest, Alice and Vicky, are frivolous, love shimmying in their bustles and have their eyes on two young men, a lawyer and a corn merchant’s son respectively.  The eldest, Maggie, the only one with any brains, is hard-working and unmarried at thirty.  Just to spice it up a bit, the latter is son of Hobson’s sworn enemy, a temperance advocate.  Henry lives just to pop over to the pub opposite, The Moonraker’s Arms, for a gallon or two of refreshment.  (more…)

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