Archive H

Ha'penny Breeze (1950)

Back from the war, a couple of pals find the home village of one of them has fallen into disrepair and poverty. They decide to revive its fortunes by starting up a yachting business and the first step is to get an old boat back into working order.

Rather a mild tale which is more about the lovely landscape around Pin Mill on the Orwell than the drama.

Script: Don Sharp

Director: Frank Worth

Players: Gwyneth Vaughan, Edwin Richfield, Don Sharp, Terry Everett, Eva Rowland, Roger Maxwell, John Powe, Natalie Raine, Frank Hawkins, Arthur Goullett, Bartlett Mullins, Owen Reynolds, Darcy Conyers, Chris Halwood, Michael Gough

Hamlet (1948)

Danish prince broods over his dad's death. 

Olivier's film of the classic play might not be as perfect as it seemed at the time, but it's still the best version by miles.

Still from HamletPoster for Hamlet

Script: William Shakespeare (text editor Alan Dent)

Director: Laurence Olivier

Players: Eileen Herlie, Basil Sydney, Jean Simmons, Norman Wooland, Felix Aylmer, Terence Morgan, Stanley Holloway, John Laurie, Esmond Knight, Anthony Quayle, Niall MacGinnis, Harcourt Williams, Peter Cushing, Russell Thorndyke 

The Happiest Days of Your Life (1950)

Two boarding schools are billeted together thanks to a Ministry blunder. Worse - one is a boys' school, the other a girls' school. Even worse - the headmaster and headmistress are Alastair Sim and Margaret Rutherford, and in the evenly matched contest for supremacy neither is going to give an inch.

Few comedies are as funny as this one, but then few are blessed with both Rutherford and Sim in top form and a scene-stealing Joyce Grenfell at her most "jolly-hockeysticks"

Still from The Happiest Days of Your LifeStill from The Happiest Days of Your Life

Script adapt.: Frank Launder, (o.a.) John Dighton

Director: Frank Launder

Players: Edward Rigby, Guy Middleton, John Bentley, Bernadette O'Farrell, Muriel Aked, John Turnbull, Richard Wattis, Arthur Howard, Millicent Wolf, Myrette Morven, Russell Waters, Laurence Naismith, Stringer Davis, Harold Goodwin, Gladys Henson

Happy (1933)

Paris, and while waiting for his patented car alarm system to take off, an inventor pays his way with a spot of band leading. 

Happy is a jolly musical, about as typical of its period as you can get. It was based on a German original (Es war einmal ein Musikus) a practise which had a temporary vogue at this time following the international success of Congress Dances. It stars Stanley Lupino who was in the middle of his golden period. Some of the songs are written by the ubiquitous Noel Gay. The dancing is, um, good-natured. All very typical.

Happy is a good name for the film: everyone's cheery and problems are few and easy to surmount. Even Bertha Belmore, so often a fearsome battleaxe, is rarely without a smile on her face here and actually gets to dance drunkenly and charmingly with Will Fyffe.

The only fly in the ointment here is Lupino's car alarm. When he finally gets it to work it shouts "Call the police" over and over until it's finally disarmed. What might have seemed like a miracle in the 1930s looks like the birth of a major irritant from a modern perspective.

Perhaps what's most typical about Happy is that it amuses while it's on, but is almost impossible to remember a few days later. 

Script adapt.: Austin Melford, Stanley Lupino, Frank Launder  (o.a. Jacques Bachrach, Alfred Halm, Karl Noti, Arthur Woods)

Director: Fred Zelnick

Players: Stanley Lupino, Laddie Cliff, Will Fyffe, Dorothy Hyson, Renee Gadd, Harry Tate, Gus McNaughton, Jimmy Godden, Bertha Belmore, Hal Gordon, Elizabeth Vaughan, Norma Varden

Happy Ever After (1954)

The new squire arrives in the Irish village of Rathbarney. Since he's played by David Niven, the villagers naturally expect him to be a proper gent; but no - he's a complete cad! What else can they do but try to bump him off? This underrated comedy is the perfect way to pass a dull afternoon.

Script: Jack Davies, Michael Pertwee

Director: Mario Zampi

Players: Yvonne de Carlo, Barry Fitzgerald, George Cole, A.E. Matthews, Robert Urquhart, Joseph Tomelty, Eddie Byrne

The Happy Family (1951)

Stanley Holloway and Kathleen Harrison are part of the family which refuses to move from their home in order for the Festival of Britain site to be built. Not much of a comedy, but a fascinating moment in time preserved.

Script adapt.: Muriel and Sydney Box (o.a. Michael Clayton Hutton)

Director: Muriel Box

Players: Naunton Wayne, George Cole, Eileen Moore, Dandy Nichols, John Stratton, Margaret Barton, Miles Malleson, Tom Gill, Geoffrey Sumner, Shirley Mitchell, Laurence Naismith, Edward Lexy, Cameron Hall, Hal Osmond, John Salew, Ernest Butcher, Lyn Evans, Michael Ward, Richard Wattis, David Keir, Anthony Oliver, Campbell Singer, Peter Martyn, Arthur Hambling, Eileen Way

Happy is the Bride (1957)

Pleasant, well-cast remake of Quiet Wedding with Ian Carmichael and Janette Scott as the happy couple who just want that quiet wedding. However, her parents have other ideas and the plans just get ever more elaborate. Add a few batty relatives to the mixture and you get a nice, civilised, middle-class farce.

Script adapt.: Jeffrey Dell, Roy Boulting. (o.a. Esther McCracken)

Director: Roy Boulting

Players: Cecil Parker, Edith Sharpe, Joyce Grenfell, Virginia Maskell, Terry-Thomas, Eric Barker, Elvi Hale, Miles Malleson, Athene Seyler, John le Mesurier, Irene Handl, Thorley Walters, Nicholas Parsons, Joan Hickson, Cardew Robinson, Victor Maddern, Sam Kydd, Peggy Ann Clifford

Harmony Heaven (1930)

Chorus boy Stuart Hall becomes a star thanks to the inspiration of plucky trooper Polly Ward. However, he then gets involved with society floozy Trilby Clarke but comes to his senses in time for the final reel.

Dreary backstage musical which has only early colour film to recommend it. Every cliché is present and correct, and the acting is basic. A couple of the tunes are catchy, but they're badly presented from a front-of-stalls position and unimaginatively staged. However, this does give a valuable glimpse of what West End theatre audiences would have expected in the early 30s from a stage musical so maybe the film is best regarded as a docudrama.

Script: Arthur Wimperis, Randall Faye

Director: Thomas Bentley

Players: Jack Raine, Aubrey Fitzgerald, Philip Hewland, Percy Standing, Gus Sharland, Edna Price

The Hasty Heart (1949)

Richard Todd is fading away in a military hospital in Burma and Patricia Neal is the nurse he falls for in this three-hankie weepy which pleased a lot of people in the forties. Now it's better known as one of the few Ronald Reagan films in which he approaches adequacy.

Script adapt.: Ranald Macdougal. (o.a. John Patrick)

Director: Vincent Sherman

Players: Anthony Nicholls, Howard Marion Crawford, Ralph Michael, Orlando Martins, John Sherman, Alfie Bass, Sam Kydd