Love on the Dole (June 28, 1941)
Released on June 28, 1941: (running time 1 hour and 34 minutes) During the depths of a business depression in England, a young girl from Hankey Park decides to become the paid mistress of a wealthy man so she can support her family.
Directed by John Baxter
Written by Walter Greenwood with screenplay by Ronald Gow, Barbara K. Emary and Rollo Gamble
The Actors: Deborah Kerr (Sally), Clifford Evans (Larry), George Carney (Mr. Henry Hardcastle), Mary Merrall (Mrs. Hardcastle), Geoffrey Hibbert (Harry), Joyce Howard (Helen), Frank Cellier (Sam Grundy), Martin Walker (Ned Narkey), Maire O'Neill (Mrs. Nancy Dorbell), Iris Vandeleur (Mrs. Nattle), Marie Ault (Mrs. Jike), Marjorie Rhodes (Mrs. Bull), Sebastian Cabot (man in crowd at betting payout), Terry Conlin (Ted Munter), Peter Gawthorne (Police Superintendant), Muriel George (landlady), Philip Godfrey (Charlie, Grundy's assistant), Kenneth Griffith (Harry's pal in billiard hall), Charles Groves (old man), James Harcourt (old man who has his dole stopped), Mike Johnson (man at demonstration), Vi Kaley (fourth old lady at seance), Jordan Lawrence (Sam Hardie), Yvonne Mitchell (factory worker at gate), Brefni O'Rorke (dole officer), Leonard Sharp (man at demonstration), John Slater (agitator at demonstration), H. Victor Weske (factory worker), Ben Williams (factory worker), Charles Williams (man in billiard hall with the full pack of cigarettes), Ian Wilson (man at demonstration), Dennis Wyndham (Jim, Larry's assistant)
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The Hankey Park Mistress
On some level, I always knew that my family was poor, but it never really sunk in how poor we were until as an older adult another couple and my girlfriend and I wanted to visit Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania one year to watch the annual Groundhog Day celebration.
I had not seen the house that my family lived in the first 9 years of my life since Dad moved us to Meadville, Pennsylvania to pastor a church there. I had, and still have, vivid memories of that house in Punxsy. I can see the front porch where my big sister Irene would sit with me and my sister Carol and a big bowl of popcorn on warm summer nights and tell us scary stories that she made up for us.
I can see the stairway in the front room, or 'parlor,' that led upstairs to two of the bedrooms on the second floor. I can see and remember all of the good times I had, and know that when I was young I never had a feeling of lack. We always had 'enough.' Dad made sure that we were grateful for the blessings we had, and thankful that we were better off than many folks around us.
Although I never felt that we were 'poor,' I always knew that we were not rich. But that morning in Punxsutawney when we went to look at the old home on South Avenue, I looked at the house through adult eyes that had seen much more of the world than the small town boy that left it 40 years earlier, and I knew in a devastating way that we were dirt poor when I was a kid.
No, I lie . . . if dad had somehow doubled his salary, we might then have risen to the ‘dirt poor’ designation. But I know that dad and mom had a great life, and my sisters and I have amazingly wonderful lives today that have far exceeded what our parents had.
In England ‘on the dole’ was a phrase that began around 1919, and meant to be unemployed and receiving help from the government. ‘The Dole’ was the money or food goods that were provided for the poor while they are out of work. In this movie, most of the residents of the poor little town of Hankey Park are out of work and struggling for their daily bread.
While the title suggests it is all about a girl that becomes a mistress of a wealthy man and the effect it has on her family, most of the movie is about life in a poor British town in 1930. Just like the 2008 housing and banking disaster in the U.S. that started a worldwide recession, in 1930 while the U.S. was entering its ‘Great Depression’ period, England too was experiencing a business decline with many hard working men and women losing their only job, with no other jobs available. We follow the Hardcastle family through these days, and see the fascinating way that this small British town copes with rough times.
Celebrated Scottish actress Deborah Kerr is the star of this movie, and this is only her second appearance on the big screen. She had a small part in the 1940 movie, "Blackout" but her scenes were cut before the movie premiered. She would be a Salvation Army girl in George Bernard Shaw’s famous 1941 film, Major Barbara. But in this movie she pulls together all of the other characters and becomes the focus of attention, and I'm sure the focus of much debate after moviegoers in 1941 watched this scandalous movie. Pop a big bowl of white kernel popcorn with plenty of warm melted butter drizzled over it and enjoy the show.
Clifford Evans and Deborah Kerr
Clifford Evans and Dennis Wyndham
Deborah Kerr and Clifford Evans
Deborah Kerr and Frank Cellier
Deborah Kerr kisses Clifford Evans
Geoffrey Hibbert and Deborah Kerr
Geoffrey Hibbert and Frank Cellier
Geoffrey Hibbert and George Carney
George Carney and Geoffrey Hibbert
Iris Vandeleur and Marie O'Neill
Iris Vandeleur and Marjorie Rhodes
Joyce Howard and Geoffrey Hibbert
Martin Walker and Clifford Evans
Mary Merall and George Carney
Mary Merrall and George Carney