Set in Salford, Manchester during Victorian times, the film tells the story of obstinate boot-shop owner Henry Hobson. Hobson dominates both his employees and his three daughters, only bothering to enquire about his meals before heading to the local public house for ale. His eldest daughter Maggie, becomes tired of his uncivilized behavior and decides to rebel by seeking a husband. Much to the hilarity and concern of her father, Maggie sets her sights on shy Will Mossop, Hobson’s master boot-maker.
Mossop is at first stunned by the suggestion, but eventually agrees to Maggie’s convincing persuasion, and together they set up a rival boot shop. Maggie marries Will, and then decides to free her two sisters from their father’s harsh grip, and allow them to take husbands of their own choosing. Hobson’s health deteriorates and his business begins to decline without his accomplished boot-maker, Hobson is finally compelled to agree a merger with his daughter and Will.
At the time the play was set in, the class system was used and consisted of lower middle and higher class, Hobson is of a high-medium class while Willie is of lower class. My first impressions of Maggie were that she is a very powerful, successful business woman who always gets the sale from every person who enters the shop. She is a liberator to characters in the play and shows this through her defiant nature towards her father; Henry Hobson. We see that she has a vision throughout the play and she can see this through the craftsmanship of Willie Mossop.
In the scene with Albert, we can see that Maggie’s dominant and overpowering character is illustrated straight away in the stage directions when it says “Maggie rises” This tells us that she ascends to her full height and does not just get up. By doing this, she shows her dominance over Albert. Maggie says “what can we do for you, Mr Prosser?” Here, Maggie is pushing Albert towards a sale as she mentions to him that “were not here to let people go out without buying” This shows her business sales technique which makes her character and role so dominant. Albert asks for boot laces but Maggie opts to go for new boots from the shelf. Albert doesn’t go against Maggie as he is slightly scared of her. Maggie “pushes him slightly.” In that time men were more dominant and powerful than women but here Maggie physically pushes him which shows Albert’s weakness and Maggie’s strength and eagerness to win.
Maggie says “you’d better have the old pair mended” Not only has Albert just bought a new pair of boots but he is now getting his old pair mended, meaning more money for the shop. Once again, this shows Maggie’s sales technique which makes Hobson so successful. The way that Maggie talks to Albert, would have been seen as totally disrespectful to the male race, at that time. Later on in the play, Maggie is confronted by her father about the subject of marriage. Hobson is dealing husbands for Alice and Vicky but not for Maggie as she is “a bit on the ripe side for marrying”.
This tells us that Maggie is too old for marrying and she’s beyond marrying age so Hobson doesn’t want to pay for her wedding. In the scene where Mrs Hepworth enters the shop demanding to see who made her boots for her, she wants to give Willie Mossop a visiting card in case he goes to another shop. Hobson says that “he won’t make a change” this shows that the society of the time was a very strict class system and Willie didn’t get to have a say but Hobson just took over him. The trap which Willie came up in symbolizes the class system by him being a low class “work house brat” and the middle class above him. Willies character shows us that he is very timid, trapped and fearful man. Hobson goes into the Moonrakers inn with Jim for a drink and they both talk about Vicky, Alice and Maggie about their marriages.
Later in the scene Maggie is talking to Willie and asks him “when are you going to leave Hobson’s?” This tells us that Maggie may be scheming about something to do with Willie. Willie reacts to this and says “not me, ive been at Hobson’s all my life.” Willie is not at all confident speaking to Maggie here as she is pressuring him into something he doesn’t want to do. He says “I’m a loyal fool” which suggests that Willie is starting to be defiant over Maggie’s harsh criticisms and he shows us the not so confident side of him.
“Will mossop, you’re my man!” Here, Maggie is complimenting Willie and trying to persuade him into starting their own business together in which Maggie sees a business investment in him. Maggie asks Willie to marry her when Willie says “I’m tokened to Ada Figgins” Maggie responds to this in a surprised way as she always wins what she wants and fights for. Willie says to Maggie “I wish you’d leave me alone” From him saying this, we can see the lack of confidence and fearfulness of his character. Willie gets quite nervous when talking bout sensitive matters such as the proposal of Maggie; he starts to stutter a bit but later on becomes very ambitious and optimistic about it.