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THIS HAPPY BREED

Director: David Lean

U.K. • 1944 • COLOUR • 110 MIN


This was the first film of Cineguild, an independent production company formed by Lean, Ronald neame and Anthony havelock-Allan, that produced all of Lean’s films up to and including Madeleine. Robert newton and Celia Johnson play the heads of a supposedly typical lower-middle-class family whose fortunes we follow in the socially convulsive period—Armistice, General Strike, Abdication, Munich, and so forth—between the two wars. the material is partially a sequel to noël Coward’s Cavalcade and Lean the stylist seems a little imprisoned within its theatrical walls. Nevertheless, the director provides complexity and counterpoint at moments of distress and tragedy and he draws excellent performances from the cast, particularly Kay Walsh, his first, but not last, erring heroine (for that matter, Lean’s second, but not last, wife), who suspects there must be something more to life than the decencies and delights of suburbia. the film was Britain’s top money-maker of 1944.

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