Watch Love On The Dole
- 1 hr 34 min
Love On The Dole is a poignant social drama from 1941, directed by John Baxter and adapted from the 1933 novel by Walter Greenwood. Set in the backdrop of the Great Depression and the rise of fascism in Britain, the film follows the struggles of a young couple, Harry and Sally Hardcastle, as they try to survive on the government's unemployment dole.
The film begins with a portrayal of the impoverished conditions of the Hardcastle family and the working-class community of Hanky Park in Salford. Harry (Geoffrey Hibbert), Sally (Deborah Kerr), and their parents (George Carney and Mary Merrall) live in a cramped and dingy house, struggling to make ends meet. Harry tries to find work but fails repeatedly, while Sally works in a dress shop, where she is exploited, underpaid, and sexually harassed by her lecherous boss.
As their financial woes deepen, Harry and Sally are drawn into political activism and join the National Unemployed Workers' Movement. They attend rallies, distribute leaflets, and engage in debates with the fascist Black Shirts. At one of the rallies, Harry meets a charismatic speaker, Larry Meath (Clifford Evans), who motivates him to fight for the rights of the working class.
Meanwhile, Sally falls in love with a young sailor, Joe (George Carney Jr.), who promises to marry her and take her away from the poverty of Hanky Park. However, when Joe's ship is sent away on a long mission, Sally's dreams are shattered, and she turns to Larry for support.
The film portrays the harsh reality of unemployment, poverty, and the struggle for survival in a time of great economic turmoil. It depicts the social and emotional impact of unemployment on families and communities, highlighting the desperation, frustration, and vulnerability of people caught in the grip of poverty and powerlessness.
The performances of the cast are excellent, with Deborah Kerr delivering a compelling portrayal of Sally's vulnerability, determination, and resilience in the face of adversity. Her on-screen chemistry with Clifford Evans is palpable, and their relationship serves as a metaphor for the struggle between hope and despair in a turbulent world.
The cinematography by Jack Parker is noteworthy, capturing the bleakness of the industrial landscapes and the harsh realities of urban poverty. The film is shot in a stark black and white aesthetic, which enhances its emotional and social impact.
The film's political message is clear, advocating for social justice, economic fairness, and the struggle against fascism. It portrays the working-class people as heroic, resilient, and dignified, even in the face of overwhelming adversity. It highlights the importance of collective action, social solidarity, and the need for political engagement as means of effecting social change.
In conclusion, Love On The Dole is a powerful social drama, with a timeless message that remains relevant today. It is a moving portrayal of the resilience and dignity of working-class people in the face of economic and social deprivation. With its excellent performances, compelling narrative, and nuanced portrayal of social and political issues, it is a film that deserves to be seen and appreciated by audiences of all ages.