Jack Warner and Kathleen Harrison star as Joe and Ethel Huggett, the head of a family spun out of Holiday Camp, 1947, based on a story by Godfrey Winn with the screenplay by writer/producer Sidney Box (When the Bough Breaks) and his wife director/writer Muriel Box (Simon and Laura).
Holiday Camp followed two weeks in the lives of vacationers. There are families like the Huggetts, singles looking for romance, older folks looking to rekindle memories, crooks out to fleece the rubes, and a murderer. It is unsettling that in the midst of the expected summertime fun and growing pains there is a tragedy whose impact is not felt on many.
Jack Warner, Kathleen Harrison
The Huggetts must have made an impression on the public because they were swiftly given their own follow-up films. The series includes Here Come the Huggetts, 1948, Vote for Huggett, 1949, and The Huggetts Abroad, 1949. Each movie featuring the Huggetts was directed by Ken Annakin (Swiss Family Robinson).
These three Huggett films were produced by Betty E. Box, a prolific producer of comedy films from Miranda to Doctor in the House, and beyond. Her brother Sidney and sister-in-law Muriel are uncredited writers on Here Come the Huggetts.
Jimmy Hanley, Susan Shaw, Kathleen Harrison
Jack Warner, Petula Clark, Jane Hylton
The family from Holiday Camp was tweaked with marriages, babies, and a son disappearing and the family we get for the triptych is as pictured. Joe and Ethel have three daughters, Jane (far right) is engaged to Jimmy (far left), Susan is the middle daughter, and the youngster is Pet - she sings and steals scenes.
The big doings in Here Come the Huggetts begins with the installation of a telephone. Ethel doesn't want one in the house. She jumps every time it "goes off" and believes it will cause nothing but trouble. Jane is coming unraveled about the return of her wartime fiance. They haven't seen each other for ages and she wonders what she has gotten herself into. She is also intrigued by the odd advances of a co-worker played by David Tomlinson.
Diana Dors, Petula Clark, Kathleen Harrison, Jane Hylton
Ethel's cousin Edie played by Dandy Nichols needs an operation and Ethel has promised to take care of Edie's daughter young Diana. Young Diana played by Diana Dors isn't as young as the family remembers. She is a pretty and pretty lazy young lady with no thought beyond her looks and a good time.
Diana's presence is particularly galling to Joe, in more ways than he is even aware. He knows she is a nuisance, that she takes advantage of Ethel, and he knows about the trouble she causes at his workplace. Joe doesn't know that his youngest believes he is straying from his happy marriage because of the attractive girl, and it is up to her to fix things up for mum and dad. Pet has no problem meddling and getting others involved in her bright ideas, including Susan's diffident beau Peter played by Peter Hammond.
The movie includes an amusing subplot revolving around the royal wedding of Princess Elizabeth and Philip Mountbatten and Grandma Huggett played by Amy Veness. Musical highlights are Edmundo Ros and his orchestra in a nightclub scene, and Petula Clark singing with the George Mitchell Choir. Look for a car crash, a fire, and a run-in with the police!
You can catch Here Come the Huggetts on the morning of August 21 as the TCM Summer Under the Stars salutes Diana Dors. The teenager was very busy building her career at this time and the movie is a good showcase for Miss Dors as well as thoroughly entertaining.
Thanks to Canadian broadcasting tradition, during my lifetime Christmas Eve means it is time to watch A Christmas Carol, 1951 starring Alastair Sim as Scrooge along with ---
Kathleen Harrison as Mrs. Dilber, and
Jack Warner as Mr. Jorkin.