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South Riding (1938)

Approved | | Drama, Romance | 1 August 1938 (USA)
"Winifred Holtby realised that Local Government is not a dry affair of meetings and memoranda:- but 'the front-line defence thrown up by humanity against its common enemies of sickness, ... See full summary »

Director:

Victor Saville

Writers:

Winifred Holtby (novel), Ian Dalrymple (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
2 wins. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Edna Best ... Sarah Burton
Ralph Richardson ... Robert Carne
Edmund Gwenn ... Alfred Huggins
Ann Todd ... Madge Carne
Marie Lohr ... Mrs. Beddows
Milton Rosmer ... Alderman Snaith
John Clements John Clements ... Joe Astell
Edward Lexy ... Mr. Holly
Joan Ellum Joan Ellum ... Lydia Holly
Glynis Johns ... Midge Carne
Josephine Wilson Josephine Wilson ... Mrs. Holly
Gus McNaughton ... Tadman
Herbert Lomas Herbert Lomas ... Castle
Peggy Novak Peggy Novak ... Bessie Warbuckle
Lewis Casson Lewis Casson ... Lord Sedgmire
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Storyline

"Winifred Holtby realised that Local Government is not a dry affair of meetings and memoranda:- but 'the front-line defence thrown up by humanity against its common enemies of sickness, poverty and ignorance.' She built her story around six people working for a typical County Council:- Beneath the lives of the public servants runs the thread of their personal drama. Our story tells how a public life affects the private life; and how a man's personal sufferings make him what he is in public. " Corruption, intrigue and romance in a Yorkshire setting. A country squire whose wife is in a mental hospital becomes attracted to a crusading local schoolmistress. Written by Michael Crew <m.crew@bbcnc.org.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

1 August 1938 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Abnegação See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Noiseless System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This movie received its initial U.S. television presentations in Los Angeles Sunday, September 25, 1949 on KTLA (Channel 5), in Chicago Sunday, October 9, 1949 on WGN (Channel 9), in Detroit Sunday 16 October 1949 on WWJ (Channel 4), in Atlanta Wednesday, November 2, 1949 on WSB (Channel 8), in Cincinnati Sunday, December 25, 1949 on WLW-T (Channel 4), in Philadelphia Sunday 1 January 1950 on WFIL (Channel 6), and in New York City Friday, February 17, 1950 on WPIX (Channel 11). See more »

Quotes

Mrs. Beddows: We need patience...
Sarah Barton: We need courage!
See more »

Crazy Credits

"Winifred Holtby died at the age of 37, one month after the publication of her greatest novel. In her story of the imaginary 'South Riding' of Yorkshire, she strove to preserve for us a part of the changing England that is typical of the whole. To her memory, this pictorial impression of her book is respectfully and gratefully dedicated." See more »

Connections

Version of South Riding (1974) See more »

Soundtracks

The Missouri Waltz
(uncredited)
Music by John Valentine Eppel
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Yorkshire In The Thirties
15 February 2009 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

After watching South Riding, researching Winifred Holtby and learning of her life was even more fascinating than this film version of her novel. She can best be compared in America to Margaret Mitchell whose one epic work assured her reputation.

South Riding is the name of the town in the rural area of Yorkshire where Holtby grew up and from where she drew her characters for this novel. She'd been a newspaper writer for years and during the Twenties developed kidney disease. Knowing she had a limited amount of time left on earth, she wrote this novel as a portrait of the area of the United Kingdom she knew and loved and the people of it.

The lead character in South Riding is Ralph Richardson an aristocrat whose dwindling fortune is used to support daughter Glynis Johns in a posh girl's school and to keep her mentally unstable mother Ann Todd in the best sanitarium pound sterling can buy. Richardson is a man who is aware of his civic responsibility and serves on the area County Council. After initially opposing Edna Best's appointment as schoolteacher, he and Best find out they have a lot more in common than originally supposed.

Another councilor is John Clements who is a socialist and an ill man constantly coughing. That was an aspect of the character not drawn out by the film, I suspect the novel has a lot more to say about it. He's deeply concerned with slum clearance and has devoted himself to ridding South Riding of a row of shacks where the poor live.

Another councilor Milton Rosmer sees a quick shilling or two to be made in making sure he owns the land the houses are to be built on. Rosmer enlists Edmund Gwenn another councilor with a lovely skeleton in his closet in his scheme and they join Clements as 'reform' advocates for slum clearance.

I didn't read about Winnifred Holtby ever visiting America, but what I was watching reminded a whole lot of Chicago rather than Yorkshire.

Alexander Korda produced South Riding and director Victor Saville got great performances out of his whole cast, especially from Ralph Richardson. South Riding was later a television series for the BBC during the Seventies and I can see aspects of it easily adapting to a prime time soap opera type show.

I think Winnifred Holtby who died in 1935, three years before South Riding came to the screen would have been very proud of what Alexander Korda and Victor Saville were able to accomplish with her labor of love. She sounds like a great subject for a film herself.


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