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Hobson's Choice Reviews

Page 1 of 7
Cindy I

Super Reviewer

April 26, 2011
I usually associate David Lean with sweeping epics, so I was pleasantly surprised by this light comedy. Charles Laughton plays Hobson, the blustery owner of a bootmaking shop in 1890s London and father of 3 daughters. The oldest (Brenda de Banzie), not married at the ripe old age of 30 and in danger of becoming an "old maid", pursues and marries (out of spite) the best bootmaker in her father's shop. This of course infuriates her father, who had decided she shouldn't marry and should dedicate her life to caring for him and the bootshop, puts his foot down in efforts to stop her. But fortunately the daughter is as stubborn as he is, and gets her way. Laughton does comedy better than I expected he would, and John Mills as good as well as the unwitting bridegroom. A little side treat was to catch Prunella Scales (of Faulty Towers fame) as a teenager playing Hobson's youngest daughter.

Super Reviewer

September 22, 2010

Super Reviewer

January 25, 2009
I imagine that it's hard for an actor to stand toe-to-toe with the likes of Charles Laughton, but John Mills does himself proud. What a delightful, very British, comedy classic.

Super Reviewer

May 19, 2008
a lovely early comedy from david lean with outstanding cast, including a marvelous performance by charles laughton at the height of his powers
Daniel D

Super Reviewer

June 11, 2013
Henry Hobson (played by Charles Laughton) owns a bootmaker shop in 1800s England. He has a soft spot for the pubs and has three daughters. He wishes for the two youngest to have a marriage, but doesn't want to pay the fee. He wants to hog the oldest Maggie for himself and the shop. Basically nothing goes Hobsons way. The most comedic element for me of this whole film was Charles Laughton himself. I just found him hilarious in his role of the wretched Hobson, and just his facial expressions could make me laugh. I never did reach the pity from him that I believe David Lean was trying to reach by the end, just because I couldn't take the character seriously. This had its ups and downs as far as how I viewed the film. I couldn't finish this in one sitting though. Not that the film is dull in pace, but it's not the most exciting adventure. Which is fine since it gives the movie a cozy feel. The characters outside of Hobson are one-dimensional. The three daughters are predictable. Willy developed to an extent, but the rest just stayed in place. This was in total a decent comedy, and David Leans first impression on me.
cody f

Super Reviewer

January 10, 2009
David Lean has two periods in his filmaking career Pre-Epics then Epics. Hobson's Choice is Lean's next to last film before Kwai, which would be the direction Lean would go for the rest of his career. I don't think David Lean gets the attention he deserves for his Pre-Epic films. Oliver Twist ,Brief Encounter, Great Expectations, and now Hobson's Choice are all great films. Lean also wrote all of these films and only wrote one more film during his Epic Period. Hobson's Choice is about a widowed drunk boot maker who loses control of his daughters as they get married. Laughton is wonderful in the title role and so is John Mills who plays the student who becomes the master. The film belongs to Brenda De Banzie who is Hobson's eldest daughter. She is just as bull-headed as her father, but also smarter. She takes Mills under her wing and remoulds him into a stronger person. The film also deals with the class system in England and is beautifully photographed. If you like Davis Lean's Pre-Epics then this is a must-see.
February 25, 2010
It has a great cast and though it doesn't seem like it at first, some likable characters that grow on you as the movie plays out.
Laughton is excellent as one moments he plays tipsy drunk with comedic timing, and that next he is an angry mad, scared that he is about to loose his daughters.Mills also deserves note here for his great performance as well. For awhile he seems to be the only character worth cheering for, but Banzie's Maggie managed to change my mind as the film went on longer.
There are some funny lines, but the drunk scenes were more disturbing then funny it seems most of the time and the film would have done just fine without it being there. Some of the humor is a bit dated and would probably go over the younger crowd's heads, but if your a fan of old movies then this is defintly one that is worth checking out.

"Oh a partnership! I thought you meant for me to Wed ya."
"I do"
"...Well by gum."
June 19, 2009
Charles Laughton is one of my favorite actors, and in Hobson's Choice he delivers yet another outstanding performance. Brenda DeBanzie is terrific as well. A fine film, superbly written and directed. A fascinating plot that never bores. Excellent classic.
March 12, 2008
If they had toned down the slapstick elements, this might have been a good film. It was good enough that I watched the whole thing, but certain scenes annoyed me. Like all the episodes where the father is drunk were way overdone.
March 14, 2014
One of the best movies ever!
November 15, 2013
Charles Laughton and the gang are fantastic in this film. Every single scene is priceless...!!!!
November 30, 2012
Great movie with great drama. Charles Laughton was just great.
December 10, 2011
Charles Laughton plays one of my favourite curmudgeons!
Wes Mantooth
July 19, 2010
This is such a charming little movie,it's so hard not to fall in love with it immediately. I'm a fan of Director Davd Lean and i stumbled upon this little known gem purely by chance. The moment i finished Hobson's Choice,i had a brand new favorite in my top ten. Charles Laughton is wonderful as Hobson,a widower with three grown daughters all living at home and working in his shoe shop. Hobson's life soon turns upside down when his eldest daughter Maggie played beautifully by Brenda De Banzie catches the eye of gifted shoemaker Willie Mossop who's played by John Mills. Mills is incredible as Mossop,a quite shy simple man with real talent in shoemaking. Mossop lets Hobson walk all over him with no appreciation for all the hard work and skill he has,that is until Maggie whisks him away and shows him what he's worth and teaches him to stand on his own two feet. It's a classic timeless tale that will make you smile constantly. Hobson's Choice is a real delight from beginning to end and remains one of my favorite movies of all time.
March 25, 2010
What a continuous surprise this movie was! First off, David Lean's set direction and photography are in super-lush black and white with the crispest of details and fantastic depths-of-field. The next large surprise is the amazing clowning ability of Charles Laughton, reminding us again of how talented and courageous he was as an artist. Then, who knew John Mills could be so authentically a working-man, so beautifully simple-minded and heart-warming? The final surprise comes at the end, when we realize just how warmed our hearts have actually been as the lump of joy jumps into our throats. But the biggest surprise of all, to me, is the film's gentle, admiring, and loving treatment of a character who is a thoroughly bossy woman -- one who has business smarts, math acumen, and ambition too, no less! This highly respectful and sentimental approach to an openly domineering woman is very much missing in American movies from all eras. All of the performances are glorious -- particularly that of Brenda de Banzie as Maggie, whose force of will sets the movie in motion, and John Mills, her perfect and perfectly lovable partner. HOBSON'S CHOICE was apparently designed as something of a French farce and has more than a bit of vaudeville to it, but it became a classic because of the deeper stuff it has in spades -- intelligent writing, sympathy for human frailty, and balls-to-the-wall acting. Bravo!
James J. Lee
July 16, 2009
A fine comedy/drama and brilliant snapshot of Victorian life in Northern England.

John Mills is excellent as the simple bootmaker Will Mossop but is bettered by Laughton as Hobson, the owner of the boot shop who is trying to find husbands for his two younger daughters but wants to keep the eldest daughter at home ot look after him and the business - "afterall she's too old to get married" Hobson states. (She's only thirty years old!)

The real star of this movie is Brenda De Banzie who is wonderful as the forceful eldest daughter Maggie. She really shines in this crisp black and white classic.

The locations and cinematography and direction are all simply amazing. This mnovie gives us a early insight of the genius of director David Lean with some wonderful use of light, contrast and reflection.

Laughton brilliantly plays the boorish drunken bully-come-oaf and there are some truly unforgettable scenes such as his drunken trip home one night across the cobbbled street and in some style he falls down a shop hatch/chute.

Hobson's Choice is one of those films where you feel you have looked out of the window one day and witnessed a bygone era. The digital restoration is quite amazing. Watching the DVD is probably better than what the original fresh rpint was in the cinema back in the 1950s.

A classic, a must watch and must own.
July 2, 2006
[font=Trebuchet MS]Full review to come.[/font]
August 16, 2005
Charles Laughton is one of my favorite actors, and in Hobson's Choice he delivers yet another outstanding performance. Brenda DeBanzie is terrific as well. A fine film, superbly written and directed. A fascinating plot that never bores. Excellent classic.
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