Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Mid Century Movie - Home at Seven, 1952

Oh I love school holidays - sleeping in, no lunches to make in the morning, and daytime television!

Today Gem kindly aired the 1952 British Drama 'Home at Seven.'  Directed by and starring one of the best British actors ever (Sir) Ralph Richardson, it also featured Margaret Leighton, Jack Hawkins, Campbell Singer and Michael Shipley.

Movie Poster for Home at Seven, 1952
Movie poster by Robb
The movie was based on the play 'Home at Seven by R. C. Sherriff' which was produced in London's West End in in 1950, also starring Ralph Richardson, and was a huge successes.  The movie was not quite as successful at the box office.

The plot follows David Preston (Ralph Richardson), is a timid middle-class, middle-aged bank clerk living in the London suburbs, who returns home one evening at 7pm as usual (to very upbeat music) only to find his wife in tears - he has been missing for 24 hours. He tells her that's impossible - he is carrying the Monday paper, and looks quite fresh, not like's he's been asleep for a day.  He tells his wife she's tired and got confused - shes been working too hard and must take it easier - of course she must be going mad!  And then he realizes he's carrying Tuesday's paper. Aha!

Preston is unable to account for his disappearance to his wife (Margaret Leighton) who calls in the understanding local doctor (Jack Hawkins).  The doctor decides that Preston must be suffering from amnesia.  Preston does have a little secret though - he has a drink at the pub after work each night where there is an attractive barmaid.  Important or not?

Gradually he finds out that during the time he was an amnesia victim, the funds of his social club were stolen and the steward murdered.  Preston finds that he did actually have motive and opportunity, and begins to believe that he committed the murder and robbery during his lost hours. When the police start their inquiries he gives a false alibi - it seems that fear has altered his mental balance.  Of course his alibi is soon exposed and he soon starts thinking his memories - guilty ones - are returning. No more spoilers! It's quite a good story, and well worth the watch.

Margaret Leighton, 1955
Eileen Bates (who worked on the African Queen) was responsible for the hairstyles, which are wonderful and worth a look if you love 40s hair.  George Partleton , who worked on over seventy movies (including Lolita in 1962) did the makeup. The set's and costumes were designed by Vincent Korda and Frederick Pusey.

Deb xx

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