Film Review – SPRING AND PORT WINE (1970)

SPRING AND PORT WINE (UK, 1970) ***
      Distributor: Anglo-Amalgamated Film Distributors; Production Company: Memorial Enterprises; Release Date: 19 February 1970; Filming Dates: began 28 April 1969; Running Time: 101m; Colour: Technicolor; Sound Mix: Mono; Film Format: 35mm; Film Process: Spherical; Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1; BBFC Cert: PG.
      Director: Peter Hammond; Writer: Bill Naughton (based on the stage play by Bill Naughton); Executive Producer: Roy Baird; Producer: Michael Medwin; Director of Photography: Norman Warwick; Music Composer: Douglas Gamley; Film Editor: Fergus McDonell; Casting Director: Miriam Brickman (uncredited); Production Designer: Reece Pemberton; Costumes: Elsa Fennell; Make-up: Bunty Phillips; Sound: Robin Gregory, Barry McCormick.
      Cast: James Mason (Rafe Crompton), Diana Coupland (Daisy Crompton), Hannah Gordon (Florence Crompton), Susan George (Hilda Crompton), Rodney Bewes (Harold Crompton), Len Jones (Wilfred Crompton), Keith Buckley (Arthur Gasket), Avril Elgar (Betsy-Jane Duckworth), Adrienne Posta (Betty Duckworth), Frank Windsor (Ned Duckworth), Arthur Lowe (Mr. Aspinall), Marjorie Rhodes (Mrs. Gasket), Bernard Bresslaw (Lorry Driver), Joseph Greig (Allan (T.V. Man)), Christopher Timothy (Joe (T.V. Man)), Ken Parry (Pawnbroker), Reginald Green (Bowler 1), Jack Howarth (Bowler 2), Bryan Pringle (Bowler 3), John Sharp (Bowler 4).
      Synopsis: A stern father and lenient mother try to deal with the ups and downs of their four children’s lives in working-class Bolton.
      Comment: Bill Naughton adapted his own stage play for the big screen with this battle of wills between the generations within a northern family. The location shooting in Bolton adds a level of authenticity to a script which comes across as a little over-preachy and with a finale that doesn’t feel real. However, a game cast delivers some witty dialogue and whilst Mason was miscast, he makes a good stab at his part of the stubborn family patriarch. Bewes also scores as the insolent son who doesn’t quite have the courage of his convictions and Coupland as the wife torn between loyalty to her husband and her kids. A time capsule caught slightly out of sync.

Film Review – THE FAMILY WAY (1966)

Image result for the family way 1966THE FAMILY WAY (UK, 1966) ****
      Distributor: British Lion Film Corporation (UK), Warner Bros. (USA); Production Company: Boulting Brothers / Jambox; Release Date: 18 December 1966 (UK), 28 June 1967 (USA); Filming Dates: began 27 May 1966; Running Time: 115m; Colour: Eastmancolor; Sound Mix: Mono (Westrex Recording System); Film Format: 35mm; Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1; BBFC Cert: 12 – moderate sex references, language, violence.
     Director: Roy Boulting; Writer: Bill Naughton, Roy Boulting, Jeffrey Dell (based on the play “All in Good Time” by Bill Naughton); Producer: John Boulting, Roy Boulting; Director of Photography: Harry Waxman; Music Composer: Paul McCartney; Music Supervisor: George Martin; Film Editor: Ernest Hosler; Casting Director: Thelma Graves; Art Director: Alan Withy; Costumes: Bridget Sellers; Make-up: Trevor Crole-Rees; Sound: Christopher Lancaster.
      Cast: Hywel Bennett (Arthur Fitton), Hayley Mills (Jenny Piper), John Mills (Ezra Fitton), Marjorie Rhodes (Lucy Fitton), Avril Angers (Liz Piper), John Comer (Leslie Piper), Wilfred Pickles (Uncle Fred), Murray Head (Geoffrey Fitton), Barry Foster (Joe Thompson), Liz Fraser (Molly Thompson), Andy Bradford (Eddie), Thorley Walters (The Vicar), Colin Gordon (Mr. Hutton, the Travel Agent), Robin Parkinson (Mr. Phillips, his assistant), Lesley Daine (Dora), Ruth Trouncer (The Marriage Guidance Counsellor), Harry Locke (Mr. Stubbs, the Housing Officer), Maureen O’Reilly (Miss Hunt, his secretary), Michael Cadman (Len), Hazel Bainbridge (Mrs. Bell), Ruth Gower (Mrs. Pike), Diana Coupland (Mrs. Ross), Fanny Carby (Mrs. Stone), Helen Booth (Mrs. Lee), Margaret Lacey (Mrs. Harris).
      Synopsis: Married life is proving to be difficult for newlyweds Jenny (Hayley Mills) and Arthur (Hywel Bennett). With well-meaning, but interfering parents, nosey neighbours, and a town that thrives on gossip can their marriage last? With all these pressures it’s no wonder their personal life is suffering. Will there ever be any good news?
      Comment: Representative of its time where the communicative repression between the generations stemmed from a post-war Britain flowering in the cultural advances of the 1960s. The interplay between the characters is irresistibly accurate and Naughton’s dialogue is bitingly witty. John Mills excels as the working-class patriarch at odds with his more intellectual son, sensitively portrayed by Bennett. Rhodes gets all the best lines as Mills’ down-trodden wife with her own evaporated dreams. Makes great use of the Lancashire locations and though dated, the film encapsulates perfectly the tensions of the day.
      Notes: McCartney’s film scoring debut, which helped this film very much financially.