This Happy Breed

Synopsis: Noel Coward's attempt to show how the ordinary people lived between the wars. Just after WWI the Gibbons family moves to a nice house in the suburbs. An ordinary sort of life is led by the family through the years with average number of triumphs and disasters until the outbreak of WWII.
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Director(s): David Lean
Production: Universal
  1 win.
Rotten Tomatoes:
115 min

[Man Narrating]

After four long years of war...

the men are coming home.


Take me back to dear old Blighty

Put me on the train for London town

Take me over there

Drop me anywhere

Liverpool, Leeds or Birmingham

Well, I don't care


Hundreds and hundreds of houses...

are becoming homes once more.

[Children Shouting, Chattering]

Welcome to number 17, Mrs. Gibbons,

and may all your days here be happy ones.

I'll be happy when I've had a cup of tea.

Well, you won't have to wait long.

Here's the removal men.

You go on in, Mother,

and I'll help them off with the stuff.

- Well, you couldn't have timed it better.

- You all right, governor?

- [Clattering]

- [Woman Yelps]

This house smells a bit damp to me.

I hope it isn't.

I don't see why it should be.

It's not near any water.

Well, you never know.

Mrs. Willcox moved into

that house in Leatherhead...

and before she'd been in it for three months

she was in bed with rheumatic fever.

That's right, dear.

Look on the bright side.

- This right?

- Thank you. Put it here.



- Take that in there, young man.

- Yes, ma'am.

That gas cooker nearly

blew me out of the kitchen.

It'll only be air in the pipe.

Here. Put these in the living room.

- Uh, they may need shortening a bit.

- Oh, I do hope not.

Give us a hand with this crockery, Mother.

It should have been put in the kitchen.

I'm not supposed to move

anything at all, you know. Not anything.

Oh, come on, Mother,

it's not heavy.

Give us a hand. You'll feel better

when you've had a nice cup of tea.

If I ever do have a nice cup of tea.

The kettle's on the boil,

but Sylvia is not here yet.


She had to go all the way to the U.K. Stores,

and that's quite a way.

She wouldn't have had to do that if she hadn't

forgotten half the things we told her to order.

- Her and her anemia.

- Well, she can't help her anemia, can she now?

I don't know how you and Frank

put up with her, and that's the fact.

You know as well as I do, Mother...

I couldn't let me own sister-in-law

live all by herself, now, could I?

Specially after all she's been through.

Sylvia hasn't been through

no more than anyone else has.

What she needs is a job of work.

She couldn't stand it. She's too delicate.

You know what the doctor said.

That doctor would say anything.

Look how he went on over

Queenie's whooping cough -

frightening us all to death.

Well, you've taken your time, I must say.

We thought something had happened to you.

I'd like to see you be any quicker

with a lot like this to carry.

Give us the milk.

Oh, me poor back.

- It was your feet this afternoon.

- Well, it's my back now, so there.

This house smells

a bit damp if you ask me.

All houses smell damp

when you first move in.


Oh, Perce, shut up!

Oh, dear.

I thought I was going to have

one of may attacks...

just as I turned into Abbeville Road.

I had to lean against a pillar box.

I suppose you didn't think

to remember my peppermints.

Yes, I did. In my bag.

- Here.

- Well, thank heaven for small mercies.

- Want one?

- No, thanks. I daren't.

- [Meowing Continues]

- I'm just going to take this cup of tea up to Frank.

Oh, you'll have to butter

Percy's paws, Sylvia.

- We'll have no rest till we let him out.

- No peace for the wicked.

Here's a cup of tea, dear.

Ta. I've just tacked them up

for the time being.

I'll put them up properly

when we've settled in.

Yeah, you look tired.

You've been doing too much.

- Oh, I'm all right.

- You've been at it all day, you know.

Well, what do you expect me to do,

sit down by the fire and read a nice book?

- All right, snappy.

- Oh, Frank, do you like it?

- Like what?

- Well, the house, silly.

- You haven't said a word.

- Well, of course I like it.

I can't hardly believe it, you know.

It's all been so quick.

You coming home and being demobbed.

- Oh, dear.

- What's up?

I can't get used to not having

that awful weight on me mind all the time.

- How do you mean?

- Oh, you know.

What, me perishing on a field of slaughter?

Ho! What a chance.

There was a chance every minute of every day

for four years, and don't you forget it.

I used to feel sick every time

the postman came, every time the bell rang.

Well, there's no sense in going on about it.

That's all over and done with.

We're lucky. It isn't over and done with

for some people.

Look at Mrs. Worsley -

husband and two sons gone.

And Mrs. Cross - that boy of hers

she was so proud of, done in for life.

[Clicks Teeth]

We ought to be grateful.

- Who to?

- Now then, Frank.

Gives me a headache talking like that.

Doesn't make sense.

Well, what does make sense

I'd like to know?

Lots of things.

There's me and the children, isn't there?

And there's your job and this house

and the life we're going to live in it.

It's cruel to make me even think of it.

What's the use of upsetting yourself?

There isn't going to be another war anyway.

There'll always be wars as long as men

are such fools as to want to go to them.


No sense in buttering that cat's paws.

He knows when he's well off.


A bit of luck about

that cherry tree, isn't it?

- Oh, I never noticed it.

- Nah, you wouldn't.

Fat lot of time I've had to stand about

looking at cherry trees.

That's a bit of luck. They fit perfect.

Here. There's Percy.

Who let him out?

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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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