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Jane Asher , Alan Bates , Alvin Rakoff  |  NR |  DVD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Jane Asher, Alan Bates, Elizabeth Sellars, Laurence Olivier
  • Directors: Alvin Rakoff
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Acorn Media
  • DVD Release Date: April 27, 2010
  • Run Time: 80 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00331RHC2
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #72,161 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features

  • Biographies of John Mortimer, Alan Bates, and Laurence Olivier.
  • SDH subtitles

Editorial Reviews

The humorous, heartwarming story of a most peculiar family

Before creating the beloved courtroom drama Rumpole of the Bailey, writer John Mortimer found inspiration in his own life for this portrait of a difficult but enduring love between father and son in mid-20th-century Britain. Screen legend Laurence Olivier stars as the eccentric patriarch--a blind barrister so stubborn and cantankerous that he refuses to acknowledge his sightlessness. Alan Bates (Gosford Park) portrays his devoted son, who follows his father’s footsteps in the law while longing to become a writer, with Jane Asher (Brideshead Revisited) as his wife.

Adapted for the screen by Mortimer himself and filmed largely on location at his family estate in bucolic Oxfordshire, this production garnered multiple awards, including an International Emmy® for best drama. By turns hilarious and heartbreaking, it captures the special bond between father and son, which at times seems unbearable--but ultimately proves unbreakable.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars MEMORABLE PERFORMANCES BY OLIVIER & BATES February 27, 2010
A very touching drama of a father/son relationship, both being lawyers, with both portraying actors no longer living. The father, Clifford Mortimer (Laurence Olivier) lost his sight while his son, John (Alan Bates-'Gosford Park'), was a youth. The story is a period tale, beginning about the time of WWII, but the son grows up, engages in following his father's law career, but preferring writing. The family, at the desire of the father, pretends there is no sight handicap. It is never even mentioned. The man goes about his gardens, fighting the bugs, and having others describe the beauty. He seems to refrain from facing reality, or has he become so perfectly adapted to his handicap? Should the viewer be inspired or feel pity for the man?
John ages, marries Elizabeth (Jane Asher-'Brideshead Revisited'), and the father/son relationship continues sometimes in conflict, sometimes humorous, sometimes surprising. This, as often in stories with these 2 actors, makes the viewer think and become engaged in the intellect of the characters. Elizabeth Sellars ('Shiralee') plays Clifford's wife, John's mother.

The DVD reminds you sometimes of a play format (this was adapted from the original stage play), except the sets are much more elaborate and much of the footage was actually done on the English estate of the writer, in Oxfordshire. The countryside is beautiful, as rewarding as the performances. _________SUBTITLES are available.

The writer, John Clifford Mortimer, the man who created "Rumpole of the Bailey", obviously used his own real life as a divorce lawyer like his father's divorce law practice, John's sight problems, and even his statement about being raised "entirely on the profits of adultery" a dialogue line used in the performance.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Drama! February 28, 2012
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This story is baesd on the biography of the writer John Mortimer. A difficult but loving relationship between father and son. The father who is a lawyer that refuses to admit he is blind and the son who wants to always please him by following in his footsteps all the while longing for his own path. The acting is superb. I liked it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Story July 6, 2013
By Tom
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
After watching Rumpole of the Bailey for several years I was intrigued by John Mortimer's writing and story lines. So, when I discovered that there was a DVD about him and his father I had to get it. Not quite what I expected but an interesting tale. No question his father was a real character and a major force in his life.

Well worth watching at least once.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyed. April 7, 2013
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I like John Mortimer. I read somewhere that this British TV movie was shot where John Mortimer grew up with his parents, where the events of the movie really took place at least in terms of the family home, and where the author lived with his family. The death scene with Lawrence Olivier (as the father) was shot in the room and bed where Mortimer's father did die. I was interested to see the real home and real garden where all of this really happened. Lawrence Olivier played the father and Alan Bates played the son and, of course, the author. That is wonderful casting. The other actors were good.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Mortimer's portrayal of cranky yet endearing father March 5, 2013
A fine made-for-TV film about John Mortimer's fictionalized recollections of his father. And Mortimer's really the shining star in this - which you'll like if you know the Rumpole series and incline towards the testy but amusing, sometimes whacky take on things conjured there, or in 'Paradise Postponed' or his other work, written or playacted.

Lawrence Olivier makes the most of his advanced age to turn out a delightfully cranky Dad. (If I read any more about Dustin Hoffman's Methodist misgivings about Sir Larry, this'll be recalled as counterevidence: he gets things across without all the self-torture.) Alan Bates is a bit old for his part here, but does well in a few key scenes in this secondary, not terrifically fulsome role. And Jane Asher - who once taught Liverpudlian Macca about art and theatre and modern classical music - is unusually convincing in her role as a challenging, almost-likeable worthy opponent to the opinionated Dad-in-law (her role, incidentally, became merely Mortimer's first wife).

This should especially appeal to anyone who's spent time with relatives who are or, with age, have turned self-centred, pernickety, and a bit too assured about every last thing they say. What's refreshing is Mortimer's talent to remind us that we do retain affection, despite all.

(It's close captioned, too!)

At under an hour-and-a-half long, it was time very well spent.
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