Watch This Happy Breed
- 1 hr 55 min
This Happy Breed is a 1944 British drama film directed by David Lean and based on the play of the same name by NoÃ«l Coward. The film stars Robert Newton, Celia Johnson, and John Mills. The film follows the life of the Gibbons family from 1919 to 1939, providing a glimpse into the lives of ordinary British people during the interwar years. The family patriarch, Frank Gibbons, played by Robert Newton, is a proud working-class man who has recently returned from fighting in World War I. Frank and his wife, Ethel, played by Celia Johnson, are attempting to provide a better life for their children, living in a suburban London house that they are able to purchase at the film's start.
Throughout the film, we see the struggles of the family as they navigate through the societal changes taking place during this turbulent time. Frank's daughter, Queenie, played by Kay Walsh, makes a poor marriage choice and eventually has an affair, causing scandal within the family. Meanwhile, Frank's son, Reg, played by John Mills, struggles with finding his place in society and eventually falls into unemployment, leading to tension within the family.
One of the most striking aspects of This Happy Breed is its vivid portrayal of the social and historical context of the time. The film includes newsreels that depict the political climate in Britain during the 1920s and 1930s, including the rise of fascism, unemployment, and the rise of the Labour Party. Furthermore, the film offers glimpses into the various leisure activities available, such as dance halls, boxing matches, and trips to the seaside, representing the culture of the working-class populace.
The film's themes of family, sacrifice, and duty are also prevalent throughout, and the hardships experienced by the Gibbons family demonstrate the struggles faced by working-class people during this time, especially in the aftermath of the Great War. The film emphasizes the importance of steadfastness and family bonds in the face of adversity, as the family learns to overcome their challenges through these values.
This Happy Breed is particularly notable for its performances, particularly that of Celia Johnson. Despite her character's lack of formal education and social status, Ethel is depicted as a strong and resilient woman who holds the family together through difficult times. Her performance is a testament to Johnson's naturalistic style and ability to bring authenticity and depth to her characters.
The film's direction by David Lean is also noteworthy, particularly in his ability to capture the natural rhythms of everyday life during this era. The film employs a narrative style that melds realism with sentimentality, utilizing an episodic structure that emphasizes the importance of small moments in people's lives.
Overall, This Happy Breed is a poignant and heartwarming film that presents an appealing picture of working-class life during a time of great change. Its characters are ordinary people who live ordinary lives, but their struggles and triumphs hold great resonance and offer an important perspective on a fascinating period of British history. With its strong performances, thoughtful direction, and social commentary, This Happy Breed is a true gem of British cinema.
This Happy Breed is a 1944 comedy with a runtime of 1 hour and 55 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.3.