Saturday, August 1, 2020

CAFTAN WOMAN'S CHOICE: ONE FOR AUGUST ON TCM


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.


Christmas Connection

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.













10 comments:

  1. So basically they’re the British Hardys. Right?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Hardys always had a moral to their stories. I think it was a Louis B. Mayer edict.

      The Huggetts amusingly put up with the absurdity of life. They let you laugh without a mawkish wrap-up.

      Delete
  2. KATHRYN HARROLD is 70 today! When I saw her on the cop show MACGRUDER & LOUD with JOHN GETZ something about her reminded me of LAUREN BACALL. Later I found out that she had played Miss Bacall in a TV-Movie. I also know Kathryn from ILL FLY AWAY with SAM WATERSTON. She and Sam both played lawyers. I didn't watch the show but she played NOLA on THE DOCTORS. KATHLEEN TURNER and KIM ZIMMER also played the role.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kathryn Harrold was a lovely Nolan. I'll Fly Away was an excellent show that should have lasted longer.

      Delete
  3. Hooray for the Huggetts! This was such a delightful series, and I adore Jack Warner and Kathleen Harrison, as well as winsome Petula Clark. I also must say that I think Diana Dors was a much more talented actress than critics gave her credit for. I agree with your answer to an earlier comment, that the Huggetts unlike the Hardys did not go around posting 'moral' messages but just dealt with the complications that life threw at them with humor and resilience. They now seem to be an idealized portrait in a time capsule of a certain way of life of the British working classes that no longer exists. At least we have the films!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for sharing your appreciation of the Huggetts. If there is one thing the Brits can be forgiven for idealizing it is their sense of humour. And it is a lovely, almost "normal" break for Ms. Harrison and Mr. Warner.

      It was a delight to me upon first seeing these movies (and I Know Where I'm Going!) that Petula Clark has spent a lifetime artlessly owning the entertainment business.

      Delete
  4. I remember hearing PETULA CLARK sing DOWNTOWN which was a big hit. Also KATIE(TINA COLE) sang it on MY THREE SONS once. I was already going to mention that then I saw that today is Tinas birthday. The cute and lovely Tina Cole is 77!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Petula Clark is one of my favourite singers; a wonderful entertainer. I remember "Katie" singing Downtown. Tina Cole is from a very musical family.

      Delete
  5. I didn't know TINA COLE came from a musical family until 1983 when THE KING FAMILY appeared on FAMILY FEUD. The show always had teams of five people. I heard them say Tina Cole and I said she played KATIE on MY THREE SONS! The host of FAMILY FEUD was RICHARD DAWSON who was once married to.....DIANA DORS!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Small world time.

      I used to watch The King Family specials growing up. Always looked forward to them. I'll have to see if those Family Feuds might be on YouTube.

      Delete

NOIRVEMBER FUN: My Favorite Brunette, 1947

"When I came to I was playing post office with the floor. I had a lump on my head the size of my head. Inside, Toscanini was conduct...