- David Lean
- Harold Brighouse
- David Lean
- Norman Spencer
- Production Companies
- London Film Productions
- British Lion Film Corporation
Widower Henry Hobson (Charles Laughton) is a successful bootmaker and a tyrannical father of three daughters who all want to leave him by getting married, but he refuses because marriage traditions require him to pay out settlements.
In 1880s Salford, England, widower Henry Hobson, owner and operator of Hobson's Boots, lives with his three adult daughters Maggie, Alice, and Vicky in a flat attached to the shop. Henry is miserly, dipsomaniacal, and tyrannical, not allowing his daughters to date since their sole purpose in life is to serve him and the shop--for no wages. He changes his mind about Alice and Vicky, for whom he will choose husbands although they've also chosen the men they'd marry if they could. However, Henry won't provide them with dowries, which might be a challenge in finding them men he would consider suitable husbands. He considers Maggie far too useful to him as the overly-efficient, organized one, so doesn't intend to let her go--besides, at age 30, she's too old for any man to want anyway. Incensed by her father's attitude, Maggie decides to show him how wrong he is about her being an unmarriageable spinster by proposing to timid Willie Mossop, the shop's poor, uneducated, illiterate boot hand--yet best bootmaker, apparently better than any bootmaker in nearby Manchester--who has known no other professional life than the shop. They enter into a marriage of convenience. Despite the differences in their social classes, Maggie believes she can show her father that she can find a husband while also forcing him to treat Willie better (and by association her) in paying him decent wages, otherwise she will use her wifely influence to convince Willie to take his and her valuable services elsewhere. If their hands are forced, Maggie believes their best weapon is wealthy, particular Mrs. Hepworth, who said that only Willie shall ever make her boots. Maggie has even taken into consideration what effect her actions will have on her sisters' nuptials, vowing to them that all will be all right in that regard. Although she truly has no idea how her father will react, she hasn't considered Willie, who might already have his own life outside the shop. If he does agree, what effect will her plan have on him and his entire being?
Henry Hobson (Charles Laughton) runs a successful bootmaker's shop in 19th-century Salford. A widower with a weakness for the pub opposite, he forcefully tries to run the lives of his three unruly daughters. When he decrees "no marriages" to avoid the expensive matter of settlements, eldest daughter Maggie (Brenda de Banzie) rebels and sets her sights on Will Mossop (Sir John Mills), Hobson's star bootmaker. Maggie and Will leave to start up in competition, and she then turns her mind to helping her sisters marry their chosen partners.
In Salford it's the time of revolution; the revolution is not industrial, but feminine. This film shows how strong females come to the fore in shaping their own world at a time when it was frowned upon. Behind the boots and clogs are individuals who must also be determined and strong in a society that gives them little credence. Keeping the humor, it also shows without fantasy the life of the Salford folk and the social connections and customs that gave their life order until they were challenged and eventually changed.
1969• 85 min
1988• 103 min
2022• 99 min
2019• 84 min