This Happy Breed (Restored)... View large image

Film Details

Directed by: David Lean

Produced: 1944

Countries & Regions: United Kingdom

DVD Details

Certificate: U

Length: 105 mins

Format: DVD

Region: Region 2

Released: 26 January 2009

Cat No: 7952716

Extras:
Languages(s): English
Interactive Menu

Moviemail Details

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This Happy Breed (Restored) (2 discs)

Cast: John Mills , Robert Newton , Celia Johnson , Stanley Holloway , Kay Walsh , John Blythe , Amy Veness , Alison Leggatt , Eileen Erskine , Guy Verney , Merle Tottenham , Betty Fleetwood

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An episodic tale of an average working class family in the interwar years. Narrated by Laurence Olivier and directed by David Lean, the... Read More

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An episodic tale of an average working class family in the interwar years. Narrated by Laurence Olivier and directed by David Lean, the story traces the melodrama caused by illicit affairs, family bereavement, the first ripples of women’s liberation and political instability in the country during the General Strike. It highlights the fact that these internal wranglings are all happening in one house in an average street, and that each average house has its own dramatic stories to tell. Adapted from Noel Coward’s stage play.

As a director, David Lean is synonymous with epic locations and grand passions, which makes This Happy Breed something of an oddity in his filmography. Adapted from Noël Coward’s play, it’s an episodic tale of an average working class family in the interwar years, tracing the drama caused by illicit affairs, family bereavement, the first ripples of women’s liberation and political instability in the country during the General Strike. It’s impressive how Lean transforms the material into cinema. Under a lesser director, this might have been a stagebound affair but Lean’s knowledge of his craft means he avoids any sense of claustrophobia. It might be worlds away from a ‘typical’ Lean film but it proves what a great filmmaker he was. And if its celebration of British restraint and stolidity may seem quaint to some, then it should be remembered that it was made when these qualities were under siege. BK

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