This Happy Breed (1944)
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as Frank Gibbons
as Ethel Gibbons
as Billy Mitchell
as Queenie Gibbons
as Bob Mitchell
as Mrs. Flint
as Aunt Sylvia
as Sam Ledbetter
Critic Reviews for This Happy Breed
This Happy Breed is Noel Coward's proud and loving tribute to the unbreakable British backbone.
Though Lean and Coward are less happy here than in the brittle, refined atmosphere of Brief Encounter, their adventurous excursion into suburban Clapham remains endlessly fascinating.
From the brilliant opening shot to the end, director Lean and photographer Ronald Neame have worked together, with originality and imagination, to produce some fine examples of camera angles and timing.
While not exacty up to contemporary standards of social realism this domestic saga was ground-breaking in its day and still captivates.
Audience Reviews for This Happy Breed
Its predictable, but that may be the result of the fact that this kind of decade sprawling melodrama is a lot more common nowadays. You can see the seeds of the type of visual brilliance that David Lean was known for pop up occasionally here and there and Cowards dialogue is always enjoyable.
Another David Lean, Noel Coward adaption, This Happy Breed follows the life of a suburban family between the two world wars. A two decade long epic this film has great character development and shows marriage, death, abandonment, and the rest of the occasions a family goes through. It has some funny snip bits of dialogue, and I especially like the communist/anarchists discussion. The film is somewhat dry, but it remains touching and relevant.
This is a bit of a difficult creature from the other Lean/Coward film 'Brief Encounter' as it focuses on a whole family and is more of an ensemble piece. In many ways it's a precursor to the soaps we see on TV today like Eastenders and Coronation Street in that the main drama are family based and although the film is set between the two wars we don't deal with international affairs. I suppose it's more of a film of its time and seems a bit stilted now but the performances are all good and it's nice seeing Celia Johnson in a different type of role after 'Brief Encounter'. A cosy Sunday afternoon film.
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