"Hobson's Choice": Wow, just wow

Having heard good things about it, i bought an old VHS copy of Hobson’s Choice (1954).

I’m really impressed. Charles laughton plays Hobson, a London bootmaker in Victorian itmes, whose three daughters are still living at home. And he likes it that way, th eold tyrant; they run his shoip while he whiles away the hours at the pub.

Until his oldest daughter, Maggie (Brenda DeBanzie) decides that she’s going to get married, and with coldblooded singlemindedness, she goes about accomplishing it.

Her choice is an employee of her father’s, a meek bootmaker named Willie (John Mills). And over the course of the movie, she establishes her independence from her father and makes a man of her husband.

What really makes the movie is Maggie. Her character is like nothing I’ve ever seen before: Strong-willed, practical, determined, and ruthless. And yet very likeable. Her marriage to Willie is very very strange; it starts out as a practical realization that his valuable skill, coupled with her business ability, would make a very good partnership. And then it evolves…

A very good picture of what I suspect a lot of Victorian marriages were like, and completely fascinating from beginning to end.

I recommend it highly, and Mrs. R, the harshest critic in our house, was captivated.

I agree – a very charming film. Especially fun to see Mrs. Fawlty as a young actress. :slight_smile:

Also agreed. The acting, especially from Laughton and Mills, is first-rate.

Oh, and just a brief correction to Rocketeer. The film is not set in London but Salford which is part of Manchester.

I’m so glad you saw this movie! I love the film, and I know no one else who has seen it.

Yes, wasn’t Maggie awesome? I read somewhere that Laughton was not happy that the actress had almost stolen the movie from him, something which I don’t recall anyone else ever doing.

It’s a David Lean flick, IIRC.

Indeed, a fantastic film!

Willie Mossop courts Maggie in Peel Park, the subject of one of local boy L S Lowry’s paintings. Brenda de Banzie was a mighty fine actress: check her out in “Too Many Crooks”, a glorious 1959 comedy.

The bloke who plays old cobbler Tubby Wadlow - Jack Howarth - found proper fame in 1960 as Albert Tatlock in Coronation Street, the UK’s longest-running soap. He was in it until about 1984.

There’s a very young Prunella Scales in there somewhere, too.

Oops. Sorry about that. All those English locations look alike to me. :wink:

I recently lucked into a used copy of the fully-restored DVD of “The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp,” one of my all-time favourites (and apparently also one of Martin Scorsese, as he provides a commentary track).

Wonderful film, very of-its-time, of course, as is “This Happy Breed.”

Colonel Blimp is a wonderful movie. Did you know it’s on Eberts’s “Great Movies” list?

We got another Powell & Pressburger film the other day; I Know Where I’m Going!. Charming story about an Englishwoman who’s on her way to a remote Scottish island to marry a millionaire. But she runs into a Royal Navy officer on leave who turns out to be the laird of the island…

It does for Scotland what The Quiet Man does for Ireland. Wendy Hiller and Roger Livesey (who played Colonel Blimp).

Hummm, that bring backs memories.

When I was 15 I had to read the part of Maggie during a play-reading that we were forced into as a class, by our English lit teacher. I enjoyed the play but my then-boyfriend, whose formal name was William (he went by his middle name at the time) was cast as Willie. At one point I had to say “Willie’s good with his fingers”.

I saw the line coming a page away and there was nothing I could do about it. Of course the entire class came to a screeching, sobbing halt, while the teacher got pissed off and started muttering about “you lot know too much you do.”


I got, in the January sales this year , a box set of P&P films: A Matter of Life and Death, The Red Shoes, Colonel Blimp, A Canterbury Tale, I Know Where I’m Going, 49th Parallel, Battle of the River Plate, Ill Met by Moonlight and They’re a Weird Mob. All for £30.00! :cool:

Sounds like the deal of a lifetime. From their reputations (and what I know from personal experience) Shoes, Blimp, and Know Where alone would be worth £30 to me–which means the rest are practically free! :smiley:

Canterbury is supposed to be coming out on DVD in the very near future; it’s on my Amazon wish list!

The only major P&P film I need now is ‘Black Narcissus’.

‘Canterbury’ was out on DVD (on the Carlton label) in the UK a year or two ago, and fairly cheap (about a fiver, iirc) but it might well have been discontinued.