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The History of Mr. Polly (1949)

Approved | | Drama | 28 March 1949 (UK)
Quiet and somewhat direction-less, Alfred Polly uses the money he inherits from his father to marry and to set up shop in a small town. His heart is in neither of these enterprises and he ... See full summary »


Anthony Pelissier (as Anthony Pélissier)


H.G. Wells (by), Anthony Pelissier (adapted for the screen by) (as Anthony Pélissier)




Cast overview, first billed only:
John Mills ... Alfred Polly
Betty Ann Davies ... Miriam Larkins Polly
Megs Jenkins ... The Innkeeper
Finlay Currie ... Uncle Jim
Gladys Henson Gladys Henson ... Aunt Larkins
Diana Churchill ... Annie Larkins
Shelagh Fraser ... Minnie Larkins
Edward Chapman ... Mr. Johnson
Dandy Nichols ... Mrs. Johnson
Sally Ann Howes ... Christabel
Juliet Mills ... Little Polly
Laurence Baskcomb Laurence Baskcomb ... Mr. Rumbold
Edie Martin ... Lady on roof
Moore Marriott ... Uncle Pentstemon
David Horne ... Mr. Garvace
Learn more

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Quiet and somewhat direction-less, Alfred Polly uses the money he inherits from his father to marry and to set up shop in a small town. His heart is in neither of these enterprises and he eventually resorts to desperate measures to break free. His random wanderings in the countryside lead him to a new opportunity that just might be what he's been looking for all along. Written by J-26

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




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Did You Know?


The scene where Uncle Jim (Finlay Currie) first menaces Alfred Polly (Sir John Mills) mirrors the scene early in Great Expectations (1946), in which Currie, playing the convict Magwitch, menaces young Pip. Mills played Pip as an adult in that movie. See more »


The Innkeeper: I want an odd man about the place.
Alfred Polly: I'm odd all right.
See more »


Remade as The History of Mr. Polly (1959) See more »

User Reviews

I am really not sure what this film set out to do.
3 January 2019 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

"The History of Mr. Polly" is an odd British film. On one hand, it has some well respected and excellent British actors (notably, Sir John Mills). But, on the other, it has a story that really doesn't make a ton of sense and which creates a portrait of a guy who is often less than likable or honorable. I found the overall experience quite underwhelming.

When the story begins, Mr. Polly (Mills) is getting fired from a job because he's lazy. Soon, however, he is extricated from this predicament when he learns his father has died....and has left him a small inheritance. Polly then goes shopping for a wife, as he plans on getting married and opening a small shop. He marries a cousin and the film jumps ahead 15 years. Now, they are both pretty miserable and Polly comes up with a plan....run away. He soon finds a job and settles in to a new life...though a drunk bully promises to make this a very short life!

The hero in the film, Polly, is in so many ways an anti-hero. He's lazy, he's run away from his marriage and he's not much of a person. Yet, out of the blue, this all changes near the end...or at least changes enough that you don't quite know what to make of the guy. Overall, a mildly interesting film but far from Mills' best.

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Release Date:

28 March 1949 (UK) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Two Cities Films See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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