• United Kingdom
  • 1944
  • 111 minutes
  • Color
  • 1.37:1
  • English
  •  
  • Spine #605

David Lean brings to vivid emotional life Noël Coward’s epic chronicle of a working-class family in the London suburbs over the course of two decades. Robert Newton and Celia Johnson are surpassingly affecting as Frank and Ethel Gibbons, a couple with three children whose modest household is touched by joy and tragedy from the tail end of the First World War to the beginning of the Second. With its mix of politics and melodrama, This Happy Breed is a quintessential British domestic drama, featuring subtly expressive Technicolor cinematography by Ronald Neame and a remarkable supporting cast including John Mills, Stanley Holloway, and Kay Walsh.

Cast

Frank GibbonsRobert Newton
Ethel GibbonsCelia Johnson
Mrs. FlintAmy Veness
Billy MitchellJohn Mills
Bob MitchellStanley Holloway
Aunt SylviaAlison Leggatt
QueenieKay Walsh
ViEileen Erskine
RegJohn Blythe
Sam LeadbitterGuy Verney

Credits

DirectorDavid Lean
ProducerNoël Coward
From the play byNoël Coward
Adapted byDavid Lean, Ronald Neame and Anthony Havelock-Allan
Photographed byRonald Neame
In charge of productionAnthony Havelock-Allan
Music played byThe London Symphony Orchestra
under the direction ofMuir Matheson
Art directorC. P. Norman
Film editorJack Harris

Disc Features

  • New high-definition digital transfer of the BFI National Archive’s 2008 restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
  • New interview about the film with Noël Coward scholar Barry Day
  • Interview with cinematographer-screenwriter-producer Ronald Neame from 2010
  • Trailers

Film Essays

Currentthumb_465_391_thumbnail

This Happy Breed: Home Truths

By Farran Smith Nehme March 27, 2012

One indomitable family stands in for all of British civilian life in Noël Coward and David Lean’s exquisite domestic drama. Read more »


Film Essays

Current_thumb_345_085_thumbnail

When Noël Met David . . .

By Ian Christie March 27, 2012

In which an already iconic playwright comes to appreciate cinema and a soon-to-be legendary filmmaker finds his voice. Read more »

Photo Galleries


Film Essays

Currentthumb_465_391_thumbnail

This Happy Breed: Home Truths

By Farran Smith Nehme March 27, 2012

One indomitable family stands in for all of British civilian life in Noël Coward and David Lean’s exquisite domestic drama. Read more »


Film Essays

Current_thumb_345_085_thumbnail

When Noël Met David . . .

By Ian Christie March 27, 2012

In which an already iconic playwright comes to appreciate cinema and a soon-to-be legendary filmmaker finds his voice. Read more »


News

345_036thumb_thumbnail

Noël Coward in New York

March 07, 2012

A celebration of one of the great cosmopolites of the twentieth century, in one of the cosmopolises he adored. Read more »