A very touching drama of a father/son relationship, both being lawyers, with both portraying actors no longer living. The father, Clifford Mortimer (Laurence Olivier) lost his sight while his son, John (Alan Bates-'Gosford Park'), was a youth. The story is a period tale, beginning about the time of WWII, but the son grows up, engages in following his father's law career, but preferring writing. The family, at the desire of the father, pretends there is no sight handicap. It is never even mentioned. The man goes about his gardens, fighting the bugs, and having others describe the beauty. He seems to refrain from facing reality, or has he become so perfectly adapted to his handicap? Should the viewer be inspired or feel pity for the man?
John ages, marries Elizabeth (Jane Asher-'Brideshead Revisited'), and the father/son relationship continues sometimes in conflict, sometimes humorous, sometimes surprising. This, as often in stories with these 2 actors, makes the viewer think and become engaged in the intellect of the characters. Elizabeth Sellars ('Shiralee') plays Clifford's wife, John's mother.
The DVD reminds you sometimes of a play format (this was adapted from the original stage play), except the sets are much more elaborate and much of the footage was actually done on the English estate of the writer, in Oxfordshire. The countryside is beautiful, as rewarding as the performances. _________SUBTITLES are available.
The writer, John Clifford Mortimer, the man who created "Rumpole of the Bailey", obviously used his own real life as a divorce lawyer like his father's divorce law practice, John's sight problems, and even his statement about being raised "entirely on the profits of adultery" a dialogue line used in the performance. Like the son in the story, Mortimer wrote and practiced law at the same time, successful in both. Mortimer died in January, 2009, so there will be no new legal drama stories coming from this great British writer. Both of the 2 leading men have also died, Olivier in 1989 and Bates in 2003. This DVD is a testimony to the skills of all 3 men.
Additional Lawrence Olivier presentations can be seen in a good DVD set titled "Laurence Olivier Presents" for those who enjoy this performance. Olivier and Bates acted together in "The Entertainer" in 1960.