Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

Hobson’s Choice


Directed and co-written by David Lean, starring Charles Laughton. What more could you possibly ask for? It’s based on a 1916 play set in the late 19th century. Hobson is a blowhard tosspot of the kind Laughton can do better than anyone. He has three daughters, who pretty much run his boot shop for him, and he’d be happy to keep it that way. But the eldest has other ideas, and she’s way smarter than him. She takes a trembling nebbish (John Mills), who happens to be the best cobbler in town and the real reasons for Hobson’s success, and sets out to marry him and transform him into a man. She could have been a nightmare harpy, but it’s clear she loves him. At one point she says “You’re the man I made you, and I love you.” As an added bonus, the youngest sister is played by a very young-looking (she was actually 22 at the time) Prunella Scales, one of those British actresses who has had a long and distinguished career but would probably be unknown to Americans except for her brilliant stint as Sybil Fawlty opposite John Cleese in “Fawlty Towers.”