Hobson's Choice | UK 1954 | David Lean
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The film begins with a street scene in Manchester with a number of old shops. The focus falls on Henry Hobson's: a boot and clog maker. we are taken inside and the camera pans across an array of boots and shoes then on the clock, striking one. At this hour a drunk man (Hobson) bursts through the door, heavily drunk in his return from the masonic meeting at the nearby Moonraker Inn.
The next day the clock strikes noon and various businessmen go to another masonic meeting. Hobson has a hangover. His three daughters are running the shop. He intimates he wishes to marry off the younger two but not the eldest, who at 30 is too old, and is instead to take the place of her mother as housekeeper. Albert Prosser arrives hoping to see Vicky and instead ends buying a new pair of boots.
An elderly and aristocratic lady enters and wishes to be told who made the boots she is wearing. Hobson presumes wrongly that she is complaining. When Willie Mossop eventually claims to having crafted them she says he is to make all her shoes from then onward ....
Willie Mossop is a gifted but unappreciated bootmaker employed by the tyrannical Henry Horatio Hobson in his moderately upmarket shop in 1880 Salford in Lancashire. Hard-drinking widower Hobson has three daughters. Maggie (Brenda De Banzie) and her younger sisters Alice (Daphne Anderson) and Vicky have worked in their father's establishment without wages and are eager to be married and free of the shop. Alice has been seeing Albert Prosser, a young up-and-coming solicitor, while Vicky prefers Freddy Beenstock , the son of a respectable corn merchant. Hobson does not object to losing Alice and Vicky, but Maggie is far too useful to part with. To his friends, he mocks the plain, severe Maggie as a spinster "a bit on the ripe side" at 30 years of age.
Her pride injured, Maggie bullies the browbeaten, unambitious Willie into an engagement. They go to Peel Park to arrange it, and Willie says he is already engaged to the daughter of his landlady. Maggie goes to his house to embarrassingly resolve the issue. She walks him out telling him never to return. She tells him to kiss her but he feels this is improper. She tells Mr Hobson of the plan and he strongly disapproves. He tells Willie that he will "beat the love" out of him with his belt. Willie declares he has no love but if he tries to belt him he will stick to Maggie like glue. He hits him and they leave to set up their own business. They go to Mrs Hepworth to borrow £100 giving Willie himself as security ...
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