Hobson's Choice

Synopsis: 1880s Salford, England. Widowed Henry Hobson, owner/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 as their sole purpose in life is in service to him and to the shop, they who receive no wages in that professional service. He changes his mind about Alice and Vicky, for who he will choose husbands, despite they, the romantic ones, already having chosen the men they would marry if given the opportunity. He will, however, not provide them with a dowry, which may prove to be a challenge in finding them who he would consider suitable husbands. Concerning Maggie, he believes she is far too useful to him as the overly efficient and organized one to let go, and too old at age thirty for any man to want her anyway. Incensed by her father's attitude about her, Maggie decides that she has to show him how wrong he is about her being an unmar
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance
Director(s): David Lean
Production: Criterion Collection
  Won 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 1 win & 4 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
108 min


Beg pardon.

Good job your Masons' meeting's

only once a month.


Aye, you're a proper old maid, Maggie,

if ever there was one.

You're leather, Maggie.

You're tough, ancient leather.

But I like leather.

- Upstairs, Father.

- Fine. Wait a minute!

Back in half an hour.

I've got a business appointment,

my dear.

I'll be back in half an hour.


- Aye.

- Aye.

- Be over in a moment.

- Aye.

- Good morning, Maggie.

- He's not down yet, Mr Heeler.

Isn't he at breakfast?


With your Masons' meeting last night?


- I'll be back.

- Oh, dear. I wish he'd hurry up.

Are you expecting anyone, Alice?

Yes, I am,

and you know I am,

and I'll thank you both to go

when he comes.

I'm sick of Albert Prosser coming here

to make sheep's eyes at Alice.

Father won't have us go courting.

What else can they do?

If he wants to marry her,

why doesn't he do it?

- Courting must come first.

- It needn't.

Courting's like that, my lass,

all glitter and no use to nobody.

Hello, Father.

Clean handkerchief, Alice.

In top drawer, Father.

Oh, you have got this in a muddle.

Keeping muddles straight

is woman's business.

I tidied this only last week.

When your mother was alive,

things and people

were kept in proper places.


You won't be much longer, will you?

We've the room to do.

You'll do this room

when I choose to leave it.

- Well, don't be much longer, then.

- Good morning, Miss Vicky.

- Morning, Mr Prosser.

Miss Hobson.

- Good morning, Miss Alice.

- Father's not gone yet.


And what can we do for you,

Mr Prosser?

I can't say I came to buy anything,

Miss Hobson.

This is a shop, you know. We're not here

to let people go without buying.

I'll just take a pair of bootlaces.

- What size do you take in boots?

- Eights. I've small feet.

- Does that matter to laces?

- It matters to boots.

Sit down, Mr Prosser.

These uppers are a disgrace

to the legal profession.

- Alice, number eights from third rack.

- Vicky!

- Oh, dear.

- I'll be off.

Sit easy, Mr Prosser.

You're a customer now.

- You call that brushed?

- She's been at it, Father.

At it to no purpose.

If my boots aren't

what they should be...

- They are. I did them.

- Aye, we'll see.

I suppose you know that you and Alice

are making yourselves

the laughing stock of Salford.

- I don't know what you're talking about.

- I'm bringing up the question of bustles.

- Bustles?

- Aye.

Who had new dresses on last night?

I saw you out of Moonraker's parlour

- and my friend Sam Minns...

- A publican!

Aye, a publican, and as honest a man

as ever stood behind a bar.

My friend Sam Minns asked me

who you were, and well he might.

You were going down Chapel Street

with a hump added to nature behind you.


And you had the kind of waist

that's natural in wasps

but unnatural in women.

- Aye, and you held your head...

...like giraffes with a bad stiff neck,

and you were gone at the knees

and the hump was wagging,

and I say it's immodest.

It's not immodest, Father,

it's the fashion to wear bustles.

- Then the hell with the fashion.

- Father. You're not in Moonraker's now.

- Comfortable?

- Yes, very comfortable.

Father's just on ready.

- That'll be one pound, Mr Prosser.

- A pound?

Oh, money's not wasted.

Them boots will last.

Thank you.

You'd better have your old pair mended.

They'll be ready Wednesday.

Oh, I don't think I...

Thank you very much.

Good morning.

Good morning.

Maggie, I've got some business

to attend to.

I'll just be out

for about a quarter of an hour.

- Don't be late for dinner, Father.

- It's a long way off dinner time.

So that if you stay too long

in the Moonraker's, you'll be late for it.


Who said anything...

If your dinner's ruined,

it'll be your own fault.

- Well, I'll be eternally...

- Don't swear in here, Father.


I'll sit down instead.


Listen to me, you three.

Providence has decreed

that you should lack a mother's hand

at the time when single girls

grow bumptious

and must have somebody to rule.

Well, I'll tell you this.

You'll not rule me!

You're not addressing

a Masons' meeting now, Father.

No, at the moment

I'm addressing a few remarks

to the rebellious females

of this household.

What I say will be listened to

and heeded!

There's been a gradual increase

of uppishness towards me...

- Morning, Miss Vicky.

Oh. Excuse me.

Some other time.

Yes, Father?

I've come to a decision

about you two.

You're gonna exercise your gifts

on some other man than me.

- You mean get married, Father?

- Exactly.

I'm gonna choose husbands

for the pair of you.

You mean we can't choose husbands

for ourselves?

You're not even fit

to choose dresses for yourselves.

You're talking a lot to Alice and Vicky,

Father, where do I come in?

- You?

- Aye.

If you're dealing husbands round,

don't I get one?

You with a husband?

Aye, that's a good one.

- Why not?

- Why not?

Maggie, I thought

you'd sense enough to know.

Well, if you want t'brutal truth,

you're past marrying age.

- I'm 30.

- Aye, 30 and shelved.

Well, all the women

can't have husbands, Maggie.

And I look to you

to take their mother's place

till I've made arrangements

for them.

- Dinner's at one, remember.

- Dinner will be when I come in for it.

I'm master here.

- Oh, I...

- Morning, Hobson.

- Morning, Mrs Hepworth. It's a grand day.

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David Lean

Sir David Lean, CBE (25 March 1908 – 16 April 1991) was an English film director, producer, screenwriter and editor, responsible for large-scale epics such as The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957), Lawrence of Arabia (1962), Doctor Zhivago (1965) and A Passage to India (1984). He also directed adaptations of Charles Dickens novels Great Expectations (1946) and Oliver Twist (1948), as well as the romantic drama Brief Encounter (1945). Originally starting out as a film editor in the early 1930s, Lean made his directorial debut with 1942's In Which We Serve, which was the first of four collaborations with Noël Coward. Beginning with Summertime in 1955, Lean began to make internationally co-produced films financed by the big Hollywood studios; in 1970, however, the critical failure of his film Ryan's Daughter led him to take a fourteen-year break from filmmaking, during which he planned a number of film projects which never came to fruition. In 1984 he had a career revival with A Passage to India, adapted from E. M. Forster's novel; it was an instant hit with critics but proved to be the last film Lean would direct. Lean's affinity for striking visuals and inventive editing techniques has led him to be lauded by directors such as Steven Spielberg, Stanley Kubrick, Martin Scorsese, and Ridley Scott. Lean was voted 9th greatest film director of all time in the British Film Institute Sight & Sound "Directors' Top Directors" poll in 2002. Nominated seven times for the Academy Award for Best Director, which he won twice for The Bridge on the River Kwai and Lawrence of Arabia, he has seven films in the British Film Institute's Top 100 British Films (with three of them being in the top five) and was awarded the AFI Life Achievement Award in 1990. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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