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Spring and Port Wine (1970, James Mason, Diana Coupland)

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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). The bone of contention initially seems to be nothing more serious than a herring, which slowly emerges as 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’.

The film boasts 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 wills begins between father and daughter, with the rest of the family eventually drawn into 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.

production details
UK / 101 minutes / 1970

Director: Peter Hammond
Writer: Bill Naughton

cast
James Mason as Rafe Crompton
Diana Coupland as Daisy Crompton
Susan George as Hilda Crompton
Adrienne Posta as Betty Duckworth
Hannah Gordon as Florence Crompton
Rodney Bewes as Harold Crompton
Arthur Lowe as Mr. Aspinall
Len Jones as Wilfred Crompton
Bernard Bresslaw as Lorry Driver

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