Hobson's Choice

Hobson's Choice

4.5 12
Director: David Lean, Charles Laughton, John Mills, Brenda de Banzie

Cast: David Lean, Charles Laughton, John Mills, Brenda de Banzie

     
 
A "Hobson's Choice," as any slang expert will tell you, is no choice at all. In this 1953 filmization of Harold Brighouse's 1915 play Hobson's Choice, hero John Mills finds after several reels of evidence to the contrary that he does have a choice over how he'll conduct his life after all. Mills is the assistant to domineering boot-shop owner Charles Laughton, who

Overview

A "Hobson's Choice," as any slang expert will tell you, is no choice at all. In this 1953 filmization of Harold Brighouse's 1915 play Hobson's Choice, hero John Mills finds after several reels of evidence to the contrary that he does have a choice over how he'll conduct his life after all. Mills is the assistant to domineering boot-shop owner Charles Laughton, who lords it over his employees and three daughters by day, then tumbles through the streets on many a drunken evening. Laughton's "old-maid" daughter Brenda DeBanzie breaks free of her father's tyranny, marries Mills, and together with her new husband sets up a rival boot shop when Laughton refuses her a dowry. Father rants and raves, but finally agrees to a merger with his daughter that will assure Mills a large measure of freedom over managing things. The winner of the British Film Institute "Best Film" award of 1954, Hobson's Choice chalked up another international success for director David Lean.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble
David Lean backs up vicious wit with tender romance in this thrilling adaptation of Harold Brighouse's play. As Henry Hobson, a tyrannical bootshop owner, Charles Laughton Mutiny on the Bounty, Ruggles of Red Gap is a comical drunk of Falstaffian proportions. When Hobson forbids his daughters to marry (their unpaid labor supports his pub visits!), his eldest daughter defiantly sets her cap for Willie, the shop's best bootmaker. Brenda de Banzie The Man Who Knew Too Much, as the eldest daughter, hounds the flabbergasted Willie into marriage, resulting in a thriving new shop of their own. As Willie, John Mills, Great Expectations, The Big Sleep performs a gradual metamorphoses from painfully awkward to gently confident. Together, the sweet couple turn a crafty business deal into a loving partnership.
All Movie Guide - Richard Gilliam
Hobson's Choice is one of director David Lean's best comedies, featuring a fine performance by Charles Laughton as the domineering boot-shop owner whose drunken behavior causes his family to rebel. Filmed on location in Salford, England, Hobson's Choice marvelously recreates the late Victorian era, and makes a credible stab at the linguistic flavor of the region. The story is told with Lean's trademark subtlety, most apparent in the wedding-night scene between Brenda De Banzie and John Mills. One of Lean's greatest strengths as a director was his versatility over a wide range of motifs and settings. The intimate, back-and-white domestic comedy of Hobson shows little evidence of the widescreen, epic grandeur that would inform such later Lean work as Lawrence of Arabia, Doctor Zhivago, and A Passage to India. Cinematographer Jack Hildyard does a fine job of keeping Hobson's Choice visually interesting.

Product Details

Release Date:
02/17/2009
UPC:
0715515042116
Original Release:
1954
Rating:
NR
Source:
Criterion
Region Code:
1
Presentation:
[B&W]
Time:
1:48:00
Sales rank:
18,521

Special Features

Audio Commentary featuring Film Scholars Alain Silver and James Ursini, Coauthors of David Lean and His Films; ; The Hollywood Greats: Charles Laughton, 1 1978 BBC documentary abou the actor's life and career, featuring interviews with his family, friends, and colleagues; ; Theatrical Trailer

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Charles Laughton Actor
John Mills Willie Mossop,Actor
Brenda de Banzie Actor
Daphne Anderson Alice Hobson
Prunella Scales Vicky Hobson
Derek Blomfield Freddy Breenstock
Helen Haye Mrs. Hepworth
Joseph Tomelty Jim Heeler
Julien Mitchell Sam Minns
Gibb McLaughlin Tudsbury
Philip Stainton Denton
Dorothy Gordon Ada Figgins
Madge Brindley Mrs. Figgins
John Laurie Dr. MacFarlane
Raymond Huntley Nathaniel Beenstock
Jack Howarth Tubby Wadlow
Herbert C. Walton Printer
Richard Wattis Albert Presser

Technical Credits
David Lean Director,Producer,Screenwriter
John Armstrong Costumes/Costume Designer
Wynyard Browne Screenwriter
Jack Hildyard Cinematographer
Muir Mathieson Musical Direction/Supervision
Wilfred Shingleton Production Designer
Norman Spencer Screenwriter
Peter Taylor Editor
Malcolm Arnold Score Composer

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Hobson's Choice
1. Opening [5:13]
2. Hobson's Girls [9:24]
3. No Settlements [6:12]
4. A Working Partnership [7:37]
5. Daylight Robbery [7:22]
6. Capital [11:25]
7. Big Fish [10:11]
8. Wedding Day [7:26]
9. A Free Man [12:47]
10. Wedding Night [9:00]
11. A Clean Slate [8:55]
12. Mossop & Hobson [12:25]

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Hobson's Choice 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
ArtGaffey More than 1 year ago
This film is light in touch yet deep in competence. David Lean may be better known for his direction of Great Expectations, Bridge on the River Kwai, Lauwrence of Arabia and others, however he never showed a more refined touch than with this film, Hobson's Choice. The performances are all around superb. John Mills is delightful. Brenda de Banzie is inspirational and Prunella Scales (best known in America as Mrs. Fawlty of "Fawlty Towers") is hilarious. Each of these performers, along with others in the supporting cast, make this movie worth watching several times but it is Charles Laughton's, Hobson, that shines brightest. A truly magnificent performance. He stretches the realm of possibility just to the breaking point and lets go with an elasticity rarely seen. He's Chaplin, Michel Simon and a circus bear all wrapped up in a seamless and perfect portrayal of a likeable tyrant. The musical score by Malcolm Arnold is amazing. The lighting and cinematography by Jack Hildyard are sublime and seductive. Great location shots. I love this film and enjoy watching it over and over.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
An essential film for fans of Charles Laughton. The story is charming and very witty. John Mills and Brenda de Banzie give sterling performances, and the quiet determination of their characters is the perfect foil for Laughton's bellicose, outrageously overbearing Hobson. If you like the wry humor of British cinema, you will love this film.
randy12 More than 1 year ago
This film has long been a family favorite. It is wonderful to have this pristine copy on dvd. The performances are off the charts good. I would loan Will Mossup the money any day of the week. Check it out.
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