Thursday, 25 February 2016

Stop Press

‘Vote for Huggett’ (1949) picks up where ‘Here Come The Huggetts’ left off. Britain’s favourite post war family are continuing to live happily in their suburban semi.  Mr Huggett (Jack Warner) has a good job.  Mrs Huggett (Kathleen Harrison) continues to muddle her way cheerily through life, taking care and pride in her family. The eldest daughter and the flighty niece (Diana Dors) are married off.  The second daughter is gainfully employed and the baby of the family is still Petula Clark, thank goodness.

Before I go any further, I must say how much I adore Kathleen Harrison in this film. As in ‘Here Come the Huggetts’ I believe that it is her talent rather than Jack’s that carries the film. She is side-splitting, and as with any actress of her calibre it is all done in a deceptively easy looking way. Just an expression at the right moment is enough to set you off.  Just watch the scene with the knickers near the beginning.
Jack by @aitchteee

Kathleen by @aitchteee

‘Vote for Huggett’ charts Mr Huggett’s foray into local politics. The adventure begins with a simple letter. Mr H decides that he wishes to share his opinion that their home town needs a lido (which they all pronounce “lee-doh” throughout – is this an old way of pronounciation or have I been saying it wrong? I always thought it was “lie-doh”) so he writes a letter to the local newspaper. They publish it, and it all kicks off.  The whole town sees it and comments on it – to each member of the family. People are in agreement, and the next thing you know, Mr H is being cajoled to stand for councillor.

If you are into politics, there is probably quite a lot of historical stuff that you could get out of this.  But the stand out thing for me was the power of a letter to the local newspaper, and the numbers of people who see it. Local papers are dying now.  We have seen them lose their grip in this generation. I used to buy them – but I no longer see them as something worth spending so much money on.  Prices have rocketed up and content has shrunk – and we already know much of it anyway through various internet portals. I even baulk at accessing the websites of our local papers – they are so weighed down with the advertising that they need to cover their costs that the pages take about a month to load and then jump all over the place. Local papers are obviously fighting for life- and who would see a letter that was printed in one these days?

In this respect, this film is a hark back to slower times, when information trickled out into the community rather than vomited a technicolour-headache- inducing mix of rumours, gossip and incident.  There is no going back, except in a Huggett induced reverie.

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