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DVD Review

DVD cover

The Winslow Boy (1948)


Starring: Cedric Hardwicke, Robert Donat and Margaret Leighton
Optimum Classic
RRP: £17.99
Certificate: 12
Available 06 April 2009

The Winslow family are a contented upper middleclass family, financially secure enough to send one son to Oxford whilst their youngest son goes off to naval college. This idyll is shattered when their son, Ronnie Winslow, is accused of theft by the navy. His father, convinced of his son's innocence, sets out to clear his name only to face resistance from a bureaucracy more interested in keeping the status quo rather than seeking the truth...

The Winslow Boy (1948 - 1 hr, 53 min, 42 sec) is a melodrama directed by Anthony Asquith from a script by Terence Rattigan based on his original successful stage play. The film was nominated for a BAFTA in 1948 and was based on a true story which was adapted into a drama.

Arthur Winslow (Cedric Hardwicke) heads a household which represent everything an upper middle class family should be with their daughter, Catherine (Margaret Leighton) about to be married with a good dowry. This is all shattered following Ronnie (Neil North) being accused of stealing a five shilling note, worse still his father discovers that his son has been convicted without any trial or representation.

At every turn his father is thwarted by bureaucrats who deny the boy's right to be given a fair hearing. The tide only turns in their favour when Sir Robert Morton (Robert Donat) takes up the case. In the end the boy is vindicated but at great cost. Their daughter’s dowry is spent as is the money for sending their eldest to Oxford, more importantly the case takes its toll on the happiness and health of the family.

Although an old film the message of struggling against institutional denial of justice still has a powerful message for today - as Morton says: "It’s easy to do justice, it’s harder to do right". The film ends on a hopeful chance of a romance between Catherine and Robert.

The black and white film is presented with an aspect ratio of 1.66:1, the print is pretty clean though there is some slight evidence of damage. The disc contains no extras.


Charles Packer

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