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A Cockney family inherit a ramshackle Devon farm. The rest of the family don't want to leave London but the father insists and off they go, to face the unknown.Written by
Steve Crook <email@example.com>
This film has no connection with the Will Hay film, WHERE THERE'S A WILL (1936). This is an amusing fifties British comedy, for those who like such things, and the exteriors were really shot on a run-down, scruffy farm, not just in a studio. The story concerns the inheritance of a farm by the relatives of a childless farmer who apparently dies intestate. The relatives are all London cockneys, and there are numerous jokes and sight gags (endlessly tromping through mud and stroking pigs) about how ill at ease they are in a farmyard setting. The deceased farmer's housekeeper is charmingly played in a fey manner by Kathleen Harrison. She has lived there for 25 years and had expected to inherit the place herself, but as no will can be found, she soldiers on as the housekeeper for the new and rowdy incomers. Later on, the will is found is an unexpected place. However, I will not spoil the story by explaining all the ins and outs, and how they are all surprisingly and unexpectedly resolved. This is a very light film, the humour is gentle and slow, and there are no Hollywood-style wisecracks, nor is there much pace. It is mildly amusing, not riotously funny. Those who are interested in knowing more about fifties Britain can always profit by seeing such films as these, hearing the topical subjects of the day mentioned in passing, seeing somebody make her way to the outhouse with a lamp in her hand, understanding how few comforts there were at the time and how little anyone expected any, and gathering from the behaviour of the characters what things tended to be like then, allowing of course for all the exaggerations necessary for a film comedy. The film was directed by Vernon Sewell, who was not noted for anything in particular, though he directed 39 films between 1933 and 1972. If this film drags a bit and does not seem to be written for the screen, that is because it was not written for the screen. It is based on a play by R. F. Delderfield (1912-1972), who adapted it for the screen himself, but not very well, so that it is rather stagey and you can imagine a proscenium just out of shot. Delderfield is best known for his Horseman Trilogy of novels, the initial parts of which, dealing with the period ending in 1919, were made into a 13-part TV series in 1978 entitled A HORSEMAN RIDING BY, of which I have an old video and I expect I will watch and review it one of these days. (The latter part of that trilogy was never filmed.) This film contains the first screen performance by the actor Edward Woodward (1930-2009), who later rose to prominence and appeared in 99 films. Leslie Dwyer (1906-1986) is the amusing and engaging lead, and he eventually appeared in 120 films. Hence, many favourites of future British films and TV series, including Dandy Nichols, are to be found in this sleepy offering which is suitable for a rainy afternoon by the fire, for those of a homey disposition who might be inclined to have a full teapot nearby snuggling under its cosy and a slice of homemade Victoria Sponge cake ready to hand.
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