David Lean

Hobson’s Choice

Hobson’s Choice

An unsung comic triumph from David Lean, Hobson’s Choice stars the legendary Charles Laughton as the harrumphing Henry Hobson, the owner of a boot shop in late Victorian northern England. With his haughty, independent daughter Maggie (Brenda De Banzie) decides to forge her own path, romantically and professionally, with none other than Henry’s prized bootsmith Will (a splendid John Mills), father and daughter find themselves head-to-head in a fiery match of wills. Equally charming and caustic, Hobson’s Choice, adapted from Harold Brighouse’s famous play, is filled to the brim with great performances and elegant, inventive camera work.

Film Info

  • David Lean
  • United Kingdom
  • 1954
  • 108 minutes
  • Black & White
  • 1.33:1
  • English
  • Spine #461

Special Features

  • New high-definition digital transfer from a restoration by the BFI National Archive, funded by the David Lean Foundation and StudioCanal
  • Audio commentary featuring film scholars Alain Silver and James Ursini, co-authors of David Lean and His Films
  • The Hollywood Greats: Charles Laughton, a 1978 BBC documentary about the actor’s life and career, featuring interviews with his family, friends, and colleagues
  • Theatrical trailer
  • PLUS: A new essay by critic Armond White

New cover by F. Ron Miller

Purchase Options

Special Features

  • New high-definition digital transfer from a restoration by the BFI National Archive, funded by the David Lean Foundation and StudioCanal
  • Audio commentary featuring film scholars Alain Silver and James Ursini, co-authors of David Lean and His Films
  • The Hollywood Greats: Charles Laughton, a 1978 BBC documentary about the actor’s life and career, featuring interviews with his family, friends, and colleagues
  • Theatrical trailer
  • PLUS: A new essay by critic Armond White

New cover by F. Ron Miller

Hobson’s Choice
Cast
Charles Laughton
Henry Hobson
Brenda De Banzie
Maggie Hobson
John Mills
Willam Mossop
Daphne Anderson
Alice Hobson
Prunella Scales
Vicky Hobson
Richard Wattis
Albert Prosser
Derek Blomfield
Freddy Beenstock
Credits
Director
David Lean
Associate producer
Norman Spencer
Screenplay
Norman Spencer
Screenplay
David Lean
Screenplay
Wynyard Browne
Music composed by
Malcolm Arnold
Performed by
The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Music director
Muir Mathieson
Cinematography
Jack Hildyard
Art director
Wilfred Shingleton
Editing
Peter Taylor

From The Current

Bruce Beresford’s Top 10

Bruce Beresford is the director of more than twenty-five features, including Breaker Morant (1980), Tender Mercies (1983), Driving Miss Daisy (1989), Mister Johnson (1990), and Black Robe (1992).


Sep 29, 2015
Charles Laughton: Size Matters

Features

Charles Laughton: Size Matters

“Let me have men about me that are fat.” —Julius Caesar, act 1, scene 2 Just as Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlowe admired small, brave men who stick to their principles, I like—in the movies at least—heavyset, flamboyant types who walk a…

By Graham Fuller


Feb 22, 2009
Hobson’s Choice: Custom-Made

David Lean may not be known primarily for his comedies, but the two he made—1945’s Blithe Spirit, based on the Noël Coward play, and then Hobson’s Choice in 1954—were exceptional, combining expertly timed broad humor with his always refined …

By Armond White


Feb 17, 2009

Explore

David Lean

Director

For many cinephiles, the name David Lean signifies grand moviemaking—sweeping epics like Lawrence of Arabia and Doctor Zhivago. But the long and eclectic career of this legendary British director encompasses arresting intimacy as well, as evidenced by the films of his in the Criterion Collection. Among those are pictures that he was responsible for editing, early on in his work in film: some of his national cinema’s greatest hits, including Anthony Asquith and Leslie Howard’s Pygmalion, Gabriel Pascal’s Major Barbara, and Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s 49th Parallel. In the forties and early fifties, having moved to directing, he made several luminous films, including adaptations of such classic and important contemporary works from the stage and page as Harold Brighouse’s Hobson’s Choice, Noël Coward’s Blithe Spirit and Still Life (Brief Encounter, in the film version), and Charles Dickens’s Great Expectations and Oliver Twist. All are graced by evocative, shadowy black-and-white cinematography and elegantly restrained compositions. Summertime, his gorgeous 1955 Technicolor trip to Venice with Katharine Hepburn, marked a turning point in his career: the sun-dappled location shoot was galvanizing for Lean, and the remainder of his films, from The Bridge on the River Kwai to A Passage to India, could be considered outdoor spectacles. Yet Lean’s deep interest in complex characters, his brilliant way with actors, and his classic sense of storytelling were never trumped by scale.