Hard Labour

Overview

Mrs. Thornley (Liz Smith) leads a rather miserable existence in Salford. She lives with her husband, Jim (Clifford Kershaw), a night custodian at a toy factory, and their grown daughter, Ann (Polly Hemingway). Mrs. Thornley is a maid who works for an imperious upper-middle class woman, Mrs. Stone (Vanessa Harris). Between her work and her home life, it seems like Mrs. Thornley is always cooking, cleaning, and fielding complaints. Jim spends most of his spare time at the pub, and is pretty cold to his wife, ...
See more details below
DVD
$18.10
BN.com price
(Save 9%)$19.99 List Price
Other sellers (DVD)
  • All (6) from $12.88   
  • New (4) from $12.88   
  • Used (2) from $16.31   

Overview

Mrs. Thornley (Liz Smith) leads a rather miserable existence in Salford. She lives with her husband, Jim (Clifford Kershaw), a night custodian at a toy factory, and their grown daughter, Ann (Polly Hemingway). Mrs. Thornley is a maid who works for an imperious upper-middle class woman, Mrs. Stone (Vanessa Harris). Between her work and her home life, it seems like Mrs. Thornley is always cooking, cleaning, and fielding complaints. Jim spends most of his spare time at the pub, and is pretty cold to his wife, drunkenly demanding sex from her once a week on the night he's not working. Jim's efforts to ingratiate himself to his supervisor, Mr. Shaw (Keith Washington), are met with a stony lecture about dressing properly on the job. Ann, meanwhile, has been spending her time trying to arrange an abortion for her friend Julie (Linda Beckett) with the help of a friendly Pakistani taxi driver, Naseem (an early turn by Ben Kingsley). The couple's son, Edward (Bernard Hill, who would later play Théoden in Lord of the Rings) seems to care about his mum, but his wife, Veronica (Alison Steadman, in the first of many performances for writer/director Mike Leigh), is a snob who constantly harangues him about his manners and looks down on his family. Mrs. Thornley, beaten down by her wearying existence, eventually seeks solace from a local priest. Hard Labour, Leigh's follow-up to Bleak Moments, was originally produced for the BBC's Play for Today series. It features an appearance by Alan Erasmus (who would become a major figure in the Manchester pop scene), portrayed by Lennie James in Michael Winterbottom's 24 Hour Party People.
Read More Show Less

Special Features

[None specified]
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Josh Ralske
Mike Leigh's Hard Labour is a glum look at lower-class British life in 1973. Leigh pulls no punches as it realistically explores the sexism and classism of the time and place, but, as usual, the filmmaker is more concerned with complex human drama than with any sort of didacticism. While Mrs. Thornley (Liz Smith), the lead character, is a sympathetic figure, her tormentors are also shown to be fully human with disappointments and troubles of their own. There is, for the most part, no black and white in Leigh's films -- just flawed individuals trying to navigate the social and economic land mines of their downtrodden existence. They often unwittingly add to their own misery, as when Mrs. Thornley chooses to blame her overwhelming domestic problems on herself, begging a priest to help her find forgiveness. The reaction of this relatively minor character to Mrs. Thornley's plight is indicative of Leigh's bracingly intricate approach to his subject matter. This type of exacting character study demands strong performances from the cast, and Leigh gets them. Smith is excellent as the quietly put-upon wife, while (Clifford Kershaw) is her equal as the noisily unhappy husband. The high level of the performance extends to the smallest roles in the film, and Ben Kingsley makes a noteworthy appearance as a Pakistani taxi driver, providing one of this profoundly sad film's sweeter moments.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • Release Date: 2/24/2004
  • UPC: 759259140455
  • Original Release: 1973
  • Rating:

  • Source: Water Bearer Films
  • Time: 1:10:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 97,913

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Liz Smith Mrs. Thornley
Alison Steadman Veronica
Clifford Kershaw Jim Thornley
Polly Hemingway Ann Thornley
Vanessa Harris Mrs. Stone
Keith Washington Mr. Shaw
Linda Beckett Julie
Ben Kingsley Naseem
Bernard Hill Edward
Technical Credits
Mike Leigh Director
Read More Show Less

Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Start Film [9:31]
2. End of Another Long Day [10:42]
3. Laundry [6:58]
4. Shopping [8:51]
5. Cooking [12:39]
6. Tailoring [11:11]
7. Cleaning [7:47]
8. Confessing [3:59]
9. End Credits [2:22]
Read More Show Less

Menu

Side #1 --
   Chapter Selections
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously