Noel Coward’s celebration of the strength and humour of the British working class in times of crisis struck a resounding chord with viewing audiences when first released, and still does to this day. Chronicling the trials and tribulations of the Gibbons family from the end of World War One, Coward’s anthem to British resilience became the most successful film of 1944. This Happy Breed was David Lean’s first credit as a solo director and was the first in a string of worldwide hits for him and his distinctive visual style. Both Robert Newton (Odd Man Out) and Celia Johnson (Brief Encounter) preside over the ups and downs of their family with great humour and patience, ably supported by John Mills (The Way to the Stars) and Stanley Holloway (My Fair Lady). This version of the film is taken from a brand-new HD digital restoration from the original film elements.
After the Great War, Frank returns to his wife and children. They move into a small house which is homely nonetheless and, from there, Queenie, one of their daughters, goes to work in a beauty parlour, gets ideas above her station and runs off with a married man. Phyllis, his other daughter, becomes happily married to Reg, but it’s not long before that relationship ends in tragedy...
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