Noël Coward's attempt to show how the ordinary people lived between the wars. Just after World War I, the Gibbons family moves to a nice house in the suburbs. An ordinary sort of life is ... See full summary »
Charles (Sir Rex Harrison) and his second wife, Ruth (Constance Cummings), are haunted by the spirit of his first wife, Elvira (Kay Hammond). Medium Madame Arcati (Dame Margaret Rutherford) tries to help things out by contacting the ghost.
William Penn's heroic deeds, on the European and American continents, are told in this portrait of the founding father of both the Quakers and the Pennsylvania colony. Based on C.E. Vulliamy's biography "William Penn."
Toward the end of his life, F. Scott Fitzgerald is writing for Hollywood studios to be able to afford the cost of an asylum for his wife. He is also struggling against alcoholism. Into his life comes the famous gossip columnist.
Robert Morley was only four years older than screen daughter Wendy Hiller, and eleven years younger than Walter Hudd, who played his son. See more »
(at around 1h 35 mins) Just before she scolds her husband for addressing her as "Biddy", a boom mic shadow passes over the lace trim on the bosom of Lady Britomart's (Marie Lohr) gown. See more »
I'm sorry sir that you force me to forget the respect due to you as my father. I'm an Englishman, I will not hear the government of my country insulted!
The government of your country! I am the government of your country! I and Lazarus. Do you suppose that you and half a dozen amateurs like you, sitting in a row in that foolish gavel shop, can govern a country like England? Be off with you my boy, and play with your historic parties, and leading articles, and burning questions, and the rest of ...
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As originally released, this featured a spoken prologue featuring George Bernard Shaw himself, but it has been cut from all TV and VHS prints. See more »
If your old religion doesn't fit the facts then scrap it and find one that does
One of my all-time favorite films, "Major Barbara" is a cinematic Shavian gem that stands alongside the original "Pygmalion", "Caesar and Cleopatra" and "The Devil's Disciple". Many viewers regard this as a rather verbose comedy-drama but then, as with Plato, dialogue was always what Shaw was all about. And what dialogue! There are more fireworks in ten minutes of "Major Barbara" then can be found in entire movies made nowadays, and without a single explosion or car chase! But then, like all Shaw dramas, this is a story about ideas, not about action.
Although Major Barbara (Windy Hiller) is the title character, the real center of the story is her father, munitions tycoon Andrew Undershaft, played brilliantly by a fairly young, and uncharacteristically lean, Robert Morely. It is he who really moves the progress of the story, just as he has controlled the courses of the lives of his family in absentia for the past twenty years without their even being aware of it. As Barbara smugly repudiates his attempts to contribute his tainted money to save her Salvation Army mission, he ironically reminds her fiancée (and the audience) that she has actually accepted a great deal of it already. In fact, she has been living off his tainted money all her life. Tricked out with a Mephistophelean beard (he is constantly referred to as the "Prince of Darkness, and even his name seems redolent of Hell), Undershaft tempts his daughter and prospective son-in-law to abrogate their life in the Salvation Army for his life in the munitions business.
Undershaft proposes to spend a day in Barbara's Salvation Army mission if she'll agree to spend a day at his munitions works. She agrees because, in her religious zeal, she's convinced she can convert her father. The worldly Undershaft, on the other hand, is equally sure that he can wean his daughter away from a life he perceives as a waste of her time and talent for one where he feels she can really make a difference.
Whether viewers perceive Shaw's story as cynical or realistic depends upon their point of view. Clearly Shaw took the latter view, at least at the time he wrote "Major Barbara". However, perhaps the most remarkable thing about "Major Barbara" is that a film like this should have been produced in Britain at all during the very darkest days of World War II. It is almost impossible to imagine a film such as this being produced in Hollywood at all, let alone during wartime!
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