This Happy Breed 2-DVD Box Set
2-DVD Box Set. Running Time: approx 2 hrs 15 min. Drama. Year: 1944. Colour. Director: David Lean.
Stars: Robert Newton, Celia Johnson, Stanley Holloway, John Mills, Kay Walsh and Amy Veness.
Includes booklet with notes by Neil Sinyard on the film, cast, adaptation and direction. Based on Noël Coward’s 1939 play.
Also includes an extra disc with two South Bank Show films
presented by Melvyn Bragg:
Bonus feature 1:
David Lean – A Life in Film
One of the world’s greatest directors, David Lean didn’t make a film for 14 years after Ryan’s Daughter. At age 76 he returned to the screen with A Passage to India. This documentary examines his life and work, with contributions from Lean, David Puttnam, John Box, Omar Sharif, Freddie Young, Alec Guinness and more.
Bonus feature 2:
David Lean and Robert Bolt
One of the great screen writing partnerships, the pair worked on Lawrence of Arabia together and co-wrote Dr. Zhivago and Ryan’s Daughter. Includes unique footage of them at work.
The story of a suburban London family, set between the wars, against the backdrop of what were then recent news events. The film moves from the postwar era of the 1920s to the inevitability of another war, and the passing of the torch from one generation to the next. Laurence Olivier narrates the introduction over a moving aerial shot of London in 1919: “After four long years of war, the men are coming home. Hundreds and hundreds of houses are becoming homes once more.” The film focuses on the Gibbons family: Frank, his wife Ethel, their three children Reg, Vi and Queenie, his widowed sister Sylvia and Ethel’s mother, after they settle in a rented house in South London. Frank finds employment with a travel agency, arranging tours of Western Front battlefields. As the children grow up and the country adapts to peacetime, the family attend the British Empire Exhibition held at Wembley in 1924. During the General Strike of 1926, son Reg is injured in a brawl. In 1928, Queenie wins a Charleston dance contest. In 1929 Sam and Vi attend a new talking picture, The Broadway Melody, at the cinema. News of the electoral rise of the German Nazi Party begins to appear in newspapers. Later, Reg marries his girlfriend Phyl. Queenie runs off with a married man. Stanley Baldwin wins the 1935 general election and, in 1938, Neville Chamberlain returns from Munich, celebrating “peace in our time”. The history of an average British family, with its highs and lows, provide the interest and Celia Johnson, the rock around which the family revolves, presents a poignant portrayal. Robert Newton is superb as the steady, intelligent Britisher. Kay Walsh is the flighty daughter; John Mills the loyal sailor in love with the errant daughter and Stanley Holloway as the next door neighbour, all give fine support.