Based on the play by Bill Naughton (best known for penning the zeitgeist-capturing Alfie three years earlier), Spring and Port Wine is an unashamedly old-fashioned affair with charm to spare. A delightful family comedy, the tale examines the yawning generation gap between a strict yet kindly father (James Mason) and his obdurate daughter (Susan George).
Although the bone of contention initially seems to be nothing more serious than a herring, it slowly emerges that this in itself is a red herring. The old-fashioned patriarch is left reflecting that “You can spend a lifetime creating a family and break it up in a weekend”.
Boasting a fine cast of British actors and authentic Bolton locations, Mason plays Rafe Crompton, an engineer at a Bolton cotton mill. His large family includes wife Daisy (Diana Coupland, best known for Bless This House ), daughters Hilda (George) and Florence (Hannah Gordon) and sons Harold ( The Likely Lads’ Rodney Bewes) and Wilf (Len Jones).
Rafe’s orderly routine is overturned when Hilda refuses to eat herring for her evening meal. A battle of wits begins between father and daughter, with the rest of the family eventually drawn in to the problem. Meanwhile, Rafe also has to contend with his other daughter when a sheet metal worker, Arthur (Keith Buckley), proposes marriage to her. All of these problems pale, however, when Daisy realises the reason Hilda can’t bear to eat the fish.
James Mason as Rafe Crompton
Diana Coupland as Daisy Crompton
Hannah Gordon as Florence Crompton
Susan George as Hilda Crompton
Rodney Bewes as Harold Crompton
Len Jones as Wilfred Crompton
Keith Buckley as Arthur Gasket
Avril Elgar as Betsy-Jane Duckworth
Adrienne Posta as Betty Duckworth
Frank Windsor as Ned Duckworth
Arthur Lowe as Mr. Aspinall
Marjorie Rhodes as Mrs. Gasket
Bernard Bresslaw as Lorry Driver
Joseph Greig as Allan
Christopher Timothy as Joe
Director: Peter Hammond
Screenplay: Bill Naughton
Year of Release: 1970
Duration: 101 minutes