A Voyage Round My Father

Synopsis: Before creating the beloved courtroom drama Rumpole of the Bailey, writer John Mortimer found inspiration in his own life for this portrait of a difficult but enduring love between father and son in mid-20th-century Britain. Screen legend Laurence Olivier stars as the eccentric patriarch--a blind barrister so stubborn and cantankerous that he refuses to acknowledge his sightlessness. Alan Bates (Gosford Park) portrays his devoted son, who follows his father's footsteps in the law while longing to become a writer, with Jane Asher (Brideshead Revisited) as his wife. Adapted for the screen by Mortimer himself and filmed largely on location at his family estate in bucolic Oxfordshire, this production garnered multiple awards, including an International Emmy for best drama. By turns hilarious and heartbreaking, it captures the special bond between father and son, which at times seems unbearable--but ultimately unbreakable.
Genre: Drama
Director(s): Alvin Rakoff
  4 wins & 5 nominations.
90 min

Brokenhearted milkman,

in grief I'm arrayed

For keeping on the company

of a young servant maid

- [ Bee buzzing]

- Bring that saw, will you, boy?

Out of the barrow.

Who lived on board wages

and a house to keep clean

In a gentleman's family

in Paddington Green

Here, boy.


My father wasn't always blind.

[ Gasps 1

He hi! His head

on the branch of a tree,

and the retinas lei! The balls

of his eyes.

That's how I looked to my

father from childhood onwards.

That's how my wife

and his grandchildren looked.

Acorn Media


Where are we going to sleep?

BOY 2:
I want to sleep

in Granddad's bedroom.

Nonsense! You're going to

sleep in the middle bedroom.

BOY 1:
I don't want to sleep

in the middle bedroom.

You got the key?

I want to change her.

Oh. Uh...


[Door closes]


Trapped a few, boy?


Just a few.

Ah. That will teach them

to feast on our dahlias.

Put them to the slaughter.


All right.

Dahlias are all right, are they?


Will you describe them for me?

Well, they're red... yellow.


Go on, tell me frankly.

Middle-aged, are they?

Past it, eh?


Oh, go on.

You paint me the picture.

[ Chuckles ]

You be my eyes, huh?

[ Chuckles ]

My father was blind,

but we never mentioned it.

He had a great disinclination

to mention anything unpleasant.

What was that?




Or caring too completely?

Made it?

Have we?



Why didn't he blaspheme?

Beat his head against the

pitch-black walls around him?

Why didn't he curse God?

He had a great capacity

for rage,

bu! Never a! The universe.

This egg is bloody runny!

It's in the most revolting


[ Coughs 1

What are you trying to do,

choke me to death?!

Have you all gone mad?!

Am I totally surrounded

by cretins?!

[ Breathing heavily]

In this six months, he married

this hardhearted girl

But he was not a Viscount,

and he was not an earl

He was not a baronet,

but a shade or two worse

'Twas the bowlegged conductor

of a tuppenny bus

The boy here?

- Yes, dear. He's here.

- Mm.

Don't let anyone ever

deceive you into believing

that the world was created

in six days.

Would you like your coffee now,


The evolution of the horse

was the most torturous process.


This coffee's frozen.

Like a sort of Arctic mud.

Shall I make you some fresh,


Um... rather like it.

Six days' labor wouldn't even

evolve one primitive earthworm.

Have you got some more of that?

So none of this

six-days nonsense, hmm?

What are you trying to do now...

scald me to death?!

The three of us lived

in a small house surrounded,

as if for protection,

by an enormous garden.

My father was driven

to the station,

where he caught a train

to London

and his work as a barrister,

in a great hearse-like car,

which he would no more have

thought of replacing each year

than he would have accepted

a different kind of suit

or a new gardening hat.

Mr. Ringer Lean, who drove it,

treated the car as though

it were a nervous stallion.

Come on, me old beauty.

A bit frisky this morning.

Do you want a quick rubdown

with the Sporting Life?

There we are.

- Morning, ma'am.

- Good morning.

- Morning, gov.

- Ah. Lean.

The old Austin's gone

a bit lame today.

The going doesn't suit her.

It's a bit heavy.

Come on, me old beauty.

[Cane tapping]


Just here.



[Whistle blows]


"Report of Mr. Thong."


Private detective.

All right. Go on.

Read it.

"Observation was commenced

at 9:
00 p.m."

At 11:
00 p.m., the wife was seen

to enter the house

in the company

of a gentleman with a mustache

who was identified

as the corespondent Dacres.

The bedroom light came on

at 11:
05 p.m.

and was extinguished

five minutes later.

"The next day, inspection

of the bedroom revealed..."

Go on.

What did it reveal?

"Male and female clothing.

[ Whispers ]


What was that?

Do speak up, dear.

"Male and female clothing."


All right. Go on.

"We were able to inspect

the sheets and observed..."

Oh, do go on, dear.


What was that?


He never used a white stick,

but his clouded malacca

was heard daily,

tapping the corridors

of the raw courts.

He had no use for therapy,

dogs, or training,

nor did he adapt himself

to his condition.

He simply pretended

that nothing had happened.

It's Mr. Boustead, dear.

He's for the husband.


[ Chuckles ]

Agin me, are you, Bulstrode?

Agin me?


Oh. Boustead.

Of course.

Excuse me, please.


- Where are you? [ Chuckles]

- Here! I'm here.


I, uh...

I've been studying your case

pretty closely,

and I have a suggestion to make

which might be useful to you.

- Really?

- Yes.

What I have to suggest,

dear boy,

is that you might like,

my dear boy,

to, uh, throw in your hand,


Now, wouldn't that make life

more comfortable?

Certainly not.

I'd say we had

some pretty valuable evidence.

You terrify me, sir.


Thank you, Mr. Thong.

Mr. Thong...

what price did you put

on your valuable evidence?

I'm a private inquiry agent.

A professional witness?

Charging the usual fee.


30 pieces of silver?

I object.

This is outrageous.

Perhaps that was

not entirely relevant.

Then let me ask you something

which is very relevant,

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John Mortimer

Sir John Clifford Mortimer (21 April 1923 – 16 January 2009) was an English barrister, dramatist, screenwriter, and author. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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