|Robert Donat as Sir Robert Morton.|
It's a campaign that will reach the House of Commons and evolve into a passionate debate of fundamental citizen rights. Yet, it will also earn the Winslow family unwanted notoriety, put them on the brink of debt, and cause them to question one another's motives (even the normally restrained Grace Winslow accuses her husband of "pride and self-importance").
In order to bring Ronnie's case to trial, Sir Robert must secure approval from the Attorney General through a Petition of Right. When approved, the petition is endorsed with the phrase: "Let right be done." Sir Robert's political maneuvering and inspiring speech in the House of Commons would make for an interesting film alone.
|The poster stressed Donat's|
billing, of course.
Through all the stress, Arthur and his suffragette daughter Catherine remain the pillars of the family. Arthur's goal is simply to prove his son's innocence. Catherine, on the other hand, believes that the government has ignored a fundamental human right. Her beliefs align closely with Sir Robert's, whom she first perceives as an egotistical lawyer who views the case as an opportunity to press his own agenda. However, just like Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice, Catherine later learns she has misjudged Sir Robert...and, indeed, their sparring seems to indicate a spark between the two.
|Margaret Leighton in a publicity still.|
Terence Rattigan based his play on a real-life incident involving George Archer-Shee, a Royal Navy cadet accused of stealing a postal order in 1910. Archer-Shee's case made headlines, just as in The Winslow Boy, and he was eventually acquitted. His family subsequently sued the Admiralty and finally received compensation in 1911.
Although the 1948 film remains the best-known adaptation, there are at least three other versions: a 1997 BBC "filmed play" with Eric Porter (The Forsyte Saga) as Arthur; a 1989 telefilm with Gordon Jackson (Upstairs Downstairs) as Arthur and Emma Thompson as Catherine; and David Mamet's very good 1991 adaptation starring Nigel Hawthorne (Arthur), Jeremy Northam (Sir Robert), and Rebecca Pidgeon (Catherine).
Click here to check out all the great reviews in the CMBA's Fabulous Films of the 1940s Blogathon.