The length of Dr MacFarlane’s part has been shortened substantially, although I can’t understand why, as Dr MacFarlane is one of the best characters (in my opinion). As well as a few additions and subtractions some things have been altered slightly. For example, on Willie and Maggie’s wedding night the performance shows Willie marching boldly into the bedroom, but in the play Maggie has to drag him in by the ear. Although they are a pretty important feature, a production doesn’t just consist of a bunch of actors, and if one did it wouldn’t be very successful, no matter how good the actors.
A variety of other things are needed: music, sets, costumes, special effects, that sort of thing. All of these things are used in Lean’s production. The music, although sounding slightly dated, matches the feel of the film perfectly. On Willie’s wedding night, for example, the music turns into an important piece of the comedy. Just as Willie is about to march into the bedroom music swells up ominously, then suddenly changes into a sort of military piece as Willie strides valiantly into the unknown.
The sets represent Victorian Salford: not a particularly lavish place, more adequately described as sombre (bordering on depressing), and are quite realistic. The costumes are realistically Victorian, and those who cannot determine this by eye will be able to guess when Hobson starts complaining about the bustles that Alice and Vicky wear. The special effects in the performance are few, and are nowhere near as impressive as modern SFX, but, considering this performance was filmed in 1954, the effects compliment the rest of the performance perfectly.
The part where Hobson is delusional due to his many years of heavy drinking is a perfect example of the effects in Hobson’s Choice, because in that scene Hobson imagines he sees a swarm of mosquitoes attacking him, and then imagines a man-sized rabbit at the foot of his bed. Overall I think that David Lean’s adaptation of Harold Brighouse’s Hobson’s Choice is a marvel of its time. It sticks to the play almost word for word, and with the small changes that have been made the conversion from book to screen worked perfectly (although I think that Dr MacFarlane’s role in this performance ends much too abruptly).
The conflicting personalities of Hobson and Maggie are brought to life marvellously by Laughton and de Banzie, while John Mill’s timid Willie Mossop is stuck hopelessly in the middle. The grim streets of Victorian Salford make for the perfect background of this macabre slice of urban drama, while the comical antics of its residents lighten the atmosphere, making the genre of this performance somewhat enigmatic: comedy or drama?
Whatever it is, it is certainly an intelligent piece of work (Hobson’s entrapment by eldest daughter Maggie so that he is forced to award her and her sisters financial settlements is exceptionally clever), and Lean should be congratulated. Matthew Gibson, B10. Show preview only The above preview is unformatted text This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Harold Brighouse section.