Hobson's Choice (1954 film)

Hobson's Choice (1954 film)

name = Hobson's Choice

caption = DVD cover
imdb_id = 0047094
amg_id = 1:22682
director = David Lean
writer = Harold Brighouse
Wynyard Browne
David Lean
Norman Spencer
starring = Charles Laughton
Brenda De Banzie
John Mills
producer = David Lean
music = Malcolm Arnold
cinematography= Jack Hildyard
editing = Peter Taylor
released = April 19 1954 (UK)
June 14 1954 (US)
distributor = British Lion Films
London Films
United Artists
Warner Home Video (UK VHS)
runtime = 107 minutes
country = UK
language = English

"Hobson's Choice" is a 1954 film directed by David Lean, based on the play of the same name by Harold Brighouse. It stars Charles Laughton in the title role of Victorian bootmaker Henry Hobson, Brenda De Banzie as his eldest daughter Maggie and John Mills as a timid employee. The film also features a young Prunella Scales, in one of her first roles, as daughter Vicky Hobson.

The film's title is an allusion to the aphorism 'Hobson's choice' - that is, no choice at all.


Willie Mossop (John Mills) is a gifted, but unappreciated shoemaker employed by the tyrannical Henry Horatio Hobson (Charles Laughton) in his moderately upscale shop in 1880s Salford. Widower Hobson has three daughters. Maggie (Brenda De Banzie) and her younger sisters Alice (Daphne Anderson) and Vicky (Prunella Scales) have worked in their father's establishment without wages and are eager to be married and free of the shop. Alice has been seeing Albert Prosser (Richard Wattis), a young up-and-coming solicitor, while Vicky prefers Freddy Beenstock (Derek Blomfield), the son of a respectable corn merchant. Hobson doesn't object to losing Alice and Vickey, but Maggie is far too useful to part with. To his friends, he mocks her as a spinster "a bit on the ripe side" at 30 years of age.

Her pride injured, she bullies the contented, unambitious Will Mossop into an engagement. When Hobson objects to her choice of husband and refuses to start paying her, Maggie decides that she and Willie will set up in a shop of their own. For capital, they turn to a very satisfied customer for a loan. With money in hand, they get married and, between her business sense and his shoemaking genius, the enterprise is very successful. Within a year, he has taken away nearly all of Hobson's clientele. Finally, at Maggie's urging, Mossop goes into partnership with Hobson, now an almost-bankrupt alcoholic, on condition that Hobson take no further part in the business.


*Charles Laughton as Henry Horatio Hobson
*John Mills as Will Mossop
*Brenda De Banzie as Maggie Hobson
*Daphne Anderson as Alice Hobson
*Prunella Scales as Vicky Hobson
*Richard Wattis as Albert Prosser
*Derek Blomfield as Freddy Beenstock
*Helen Haye as Mrs. Hepworth, the satisfied customer and financial backer
*Jack Howarth as Tubby Wadlow, another Hobson employee
*Joseph Tomelty as Jim Heeler
*Julien Mitchell as Sam Minns
*Gibb McLaughlin as Tudsbury
*Philip Stainton as Denton
*John Laurie as Dr. MacFarlane


While some contemporary critics felt that Lean's direction was rather formal and dated, most acclaimed his assured touch; and the acting was seen as successful. [ [http://www.screenonline.org.uk/film/id/468809/index.html screenonline: Hobson's Choice (1953) ] ]


Berlin Film Festival Golden Bear 1954 and British Film Academy Award Best British Film 1954. [ [http://www.hollywood.com/celebrity/David_Lean/196424 David Lean at Hollywood.com ] ]




*The Great British Films, pp 162-164, Jerry Vermilye, 1978, Citadel Press, ISBN 080650661X

External links

*imdb title|id=0047094|title=Hobson's Choice

###@@@KEY@@@###succession box
title=Golden Bear winner
before="The Wages of Fear"
after="Die Ratten"
succession box
title=BAFTA Award for Best British Film
after="Richard III"

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