Holly and the Ivy DVD

Thursday, 08 October 2009 10:27

This 1952 adaptation of Wynyard Brownes play has a cast of well known British actors giving a mixture of subtle and emotional performances. There are moments of comedy and moments of tragedy that all lead to a very satisfactory, if obvious ending. This is a gentle, simple tale that will keep you enthralled to the end.

It is Christmas and the Rev Martin Gergory (Ralph Richardson of "Doctor Zhivago" and "Time Bandits" fame) is preparing for what he finds the worst time of the year. He dislikes the retail world muscling in on what, for him should be a very important date on the calendar. He is however looking forward to seeing his three children; Jenny (Celia Johnson - "Brief Encounter") the daughter who stayed at home to look after her father when his wife died; Margaret (Margaret Leighton) a successful journalist and Mick (Denholm Elliot - "A Room With a View", the Indiana Jones movies), a brash young man on leave from National Service.

Holly and the Ivy DVDThe family are also joined by their aged Aunts Lydia and Bridget, the Holly and Ivy of the title, who are polar opposites of each other. Lydia can only see the good in people and Bridget has something to say about everything.

We witness the family coming together, falling apart and ultimately finding themselves better off with each other.

Ralph Richardson is wonderful as the patriarch of the family, even if he is more concerned with his parishioners. He gives an understated performance; he is calm and speaks with the tone that all clergy develop. His gradual realisation that his children have all been keeping things from him because he is a parson is believable and a little sad to watch.

The parts of the children Margaret, Jenny and Mick are well cast. Celia Johnson shows plenty of angst and emotion as she comes to terms with, what she believes will be her lot in life looking after her father for evermore.

The short scene between Margaret and Jenny where Margaret reveals a carefully kept secret will have you reaching for a hankie. They both show the right amount of anger, shock and sorrow.

Denholm Elliot, in one of his first films gives us just a hint of what is to come in his long career. He almost acts Richardson off the screen during their frank and honest conversation towards the conclusion of the story.

The film was adapted by the author from his stage play and that influence is clear. It makes for an easy to follow plot, without too many twists and turns but enough to keep the interest going. You will care about the characters and enjoy their conversations.

The two aunts act almost as oracles, pointing things out and carrying on the story. Their joy or disapproval is mirrored by the audience. They are with the action but equally act as commentators.

Watch out for a brief appearance by William Hartnell as Mick’s Sergeant Major surprising him as he tries to sneak back into his barracks after an unscheduled meeting with a girlfriend.

This film will leave you with a nice warm fuzzy feeling. It would probably make for an entertaining distraction from all the tinsel and turkey at Christmas, despite the fact it is set in the festive season. It is all about the family coming together and living in harmony.

The 1952 black and white picture is clear and the sets are nicely detailed. Sometimes it is good to remember a slower, more refined time, and this film will certainly show you that.

“The Holly and The Ivy” is released on 26 October 2009 by Optimum Home Entertainment, with a ‘U’ certificate and a RRP of £15.99


Review: "The Holly and The Ivy" (1952)




Last modified on Thursday, 10 May 2012 16:37

denizli escort denizli escort