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4.5 out of 5 stars143
4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 29 October 2007
A wonderful, warm, witty, observant movie made during World War II, which follows the everyday lives of an ordinary family between the two World Wars. Somehow the simple plot manages to encapsulate the British character, particularly their fortitude during lean times and their quiet pleasure in small joys. It was directed by David Lean and produced by Noel Coward, with top-notch acting by the strong cast including Celia Johnson, John Mills and Kay Walsh.

Being raised on 1960's television, I'd previously only known Robert Newton as the bawdy Long John Silver (!) but here he delivers a blinder of a performance as the hardworking, upright and loyal head of the family.

This film is definitely in my Top 10, so it's a great pity that this dvd release by Carlton International is ruined by dreadful speckling and muted colour. I compared it last week to Film Four's current screened version, with its beautiful lush colours and pure picture, and I realised how badly this dvd version rates in the comparison. In my view, save your money and trust that a newer dvd release by another company will do this fine film justice.
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on 14 May 2003
This is a great film with first class acting and a gripping story. If you love british films then you will love this film. Shot in South Clapham, London 1944 during WWII this film will delight you with its charm and warmth of a era lost to us all.
If you go looking you can even find the street and house used for this film, took me only two days of research to find the location, which is unchanged to this day except for a few cars.
Great film GET IT. Its a shame that Carlton have deleted it from their DVD list, where is the justice in that, come on Carlton, release this title on DVD and do British Cinema the justice it deserves.
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on 11 July 2012
Annoyingly, Amazon have attached a string of reviews of the substandard DVD to this Blu-ray.

Just to make it clear, the picture quality of this disc is stunning and the sound is perfect and completely in synch. The two episodes of the South Bank Show included as extras are terrific, too: the first, from 1985, juxtaposes an overview of Lean's career with footage of him making his latest (and, as it turned out, last) film A Passage To India and runs an impressive two hours and ten minutes; the second is about Lean's working relationship with the writer Robert Bolt.

This Happy Breed is a terrific film and it's never looked this good in decades. Buy it.
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on 17 June 2000
I came across this film by accident one day but what a find! I am so pleased that it has now been released in DVD as it is a great favorite of mine. A wonderful story, by Noel Coward, of family life between the two World Wars. Of men returning to civillian life and the family they left behind. Celia Johnson plays a very good mother and a young John Mills plays the "boy next door". Happy times and sad ones - get your hankies out! A "must" film for any family. Try the Cruel Sea or Dambusters as well.
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VINE VOICEon 13 September 2008
Don't let the b/w sleeve fool you, this film is in colour and the quality has held up fairly well. Where did they find all that colour film in 1944? This must have been regarded as an important national project.

It tells the story of a typical British family between the two world wars. It is almost trying to prepare people for the coming peace, like a reminder that it was not that far away.

Important historical events are weaved into the plot. The victory parades after world war 1, the general strike of 1926, and growing threat of war in the late 30s, are shown with music and fashions and advances in technology (radio, electric light in ordinary homes, talkies etc) contemporary to their time.

Blink and you could miss the one fleeting reference to the abdication of Edward VIII, when mother removes a 1936 calander of him. The event was too fresh to be dealt with fully during the war years.

Celia Johnson takes a good part as the mother. The character is a class or two below her parts in 'Brief Encounter' and 'In Which We Serve', but she seems just as comfortable and convincing here.

Robert Newton as the father displays typical British values of moderation and tolerance. While lecturing his son the night before his marriage, he even countenances the odd discrete affair, should the marriage become stale. What did our grandparents get up to? Perhaps they were not that different to us!

A well watchable movie and an interesting view of social history.
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on 23 June 2012
I've just this minute finished watching it on Blu-ray (it's saturday afternoon - the best time to watch This Happy Breed, in my opinion!) and felt compelled to give it a bit of a review.. In a word, 'outstanding'.
Anyone who's a fan of this film needs to own it in HD, pure and simple. I had no idea the quality of the transfer for a 68 year old film would be this good. The actors' flawless performances and Lean's masterful camera work themselves are a pleasure to watch, but when seen with the incredible amount of detail this release offers, it's an absolute visual feast! The 105 minutes flew by!
I applaud the BFI and The Lean Foundation for giving this gem the treatment it rightfully deserves.
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on 28 October 2009
Fully agree with Brenda Watkins & John Collier. To restore a film & not get the picture & sound in sinc with each other is unforgivable.Wish I had seen their reviews before I purchased this item.I will certainly check the reviews before I make my next purchase!
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on 6 January 2015
I saw this film years ago on tv and enjoyed it. It was so full of period detail. The action follows the fortunes of the Gibbons family from 1919 to 1939. The film starts with the family arriving at their new home. Mr Gibbons discovers his next door neighbour is a pal he met in the army and he is delighted to renew the aquaintance. The ups and downs of family life are beautifully portrayed.
The cast are excellent with the talents of Robert Newton, Celia Johnson and John Mills leading the story. The look of the film is terrific. The Technicolor is astonishing and it looks like a new film. It is a masterpiece of digital restoration. In the Special Features menu there is a Restoration Featurette which shows scenes before and after restoration. I found this fascinating.
The film may be old fashioned to modern audiences but I heartily recommend it as an example of Classic British Cinema.
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on 15 February 2010
This is the first time I have been disappointed with a Network DVD. The promise of a restored print lured me into buying this. I have to say the print qaulity wasn't that great to me - some of the skin tones looked very flat particulary Sylvia and Ethel.
The big problem of course is the soundtrack. Not only is it out of sync with the picture in some places, it was quite loud. Almost as if it had been removed, polished up and put back with no relation to the picture at all. I will be going back to the Carlton Visual Entertainment edition.
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on 20 November 2013
It had been many years since I'd seen this,at the end of World War Two actually as a kid,but I was by no means disappointed with my purchase.,which i can recomend to any student of the interwar years,and the contribution it was supposed to have made to morale as the war started.
Its interesting on more than one level as a movie,because it was created by Noel Coward,a very clever,slick,homosexual, a great playwright ,musician and actor, a cheerfully cynical intellectual with a penchant for living amongst the "upper Class"in those days,and yet he demonstrated a real capacity for understanding the needs and anxieties of the working class after the end of the first World War,.most of whom were well aware that another load of grief was coming down the pipe for them,courtesy of Adolf!
The film fascinated me because the representations of the characters in the story, their concerns and the way they lived,right down to the "pinny's",turbans, and bottles of stout,exactly mirrored my own family in Southampton when I was very young,Coward could have stolen their actual dialogue,if he'd been up on the mantlepiece behind the wooden clock listening,it was uncanny! Robert Newton,remembered by many as Long John Silver in "Treasure Island",and Celia Johnson-"Brief Encounter",are superb,totally realistic,making do with their modest lot,with courage and fortitude.and theirs is an acting "tour de force!"
Remarkably,Coward did not shrink from allowing the remains of the family to move to the country at the end of the script,to avoid the blitz that eveybody knew was coming,and I considered that this added to the reality of the story,as the audience are made well aware that Newton had received a right basinful during the First World War,and had little trust left in Englands political masters,or even its ability to survive... Unlike the other great early wartime movie,Mrs Miniver, supposedly depicting life in Britain as it confronted the onset of war again,this one really works,the resonance is still very strong.I gladly bow to the Master here,because Coward really got it right!!
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