'Take a look at the baby, Liz,' a slum-dweller tells his big, tough, poetry-spouting daughter, 'he's frothing like a bottle of beer'. And not surprising, too, born into this hot-bed of passion and corruption. Saville carries Winifred Holtby's tart, witty exposé of Yorkshire power politics to the screen with breathtaking, and totally unexpected, panache. A film which makes a hero of the local squire (Richardson) and a dupe of the idealistic socialist councillor (Clements) must be ideologically suspect; but as rivalries are resolved in midnight calfing sessions and school cloakroom brawls, all reservations are swept aside. The sort of consensus politics which has the gentry converting stately homes into schools and building council houses in the grounds is, after all, irresistible.
Cast and crew
Ian Dalrymple, Donald Bull
Ralph Richardson Edna Best Ann Todd John Clements Edmund Gwenn Marie Lohr Glynis Johns Milton Rosmer Edward Lexy