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For Better, for Worse 1954
Description: In postwar London a young graduate and his girlfriend decide to marry. Her well-to-do parents are not convinced, but they accept once he has got a £5.10.0 job and a 30/- a week single-room flat. The newly-weds search cash fearfully tight, the flat cramped, the neighbours a trial, and her parents everytime hovering. Can faith defeat all? Is there some method of getting rid of tea-leaves except down the sink?
Released: 20 Jun 1955 Director: J. Lee Thompson Writers: J. Lee Thompson (screenplay), Peter Myers (additional dialogue), Alec Grahame (additional dialogue), Arthur Watkin (based on the play For Better, For Worse by) Actors: Dirk Bogarde, Susan Stephen, Cecil Parker, Eileen Herlie Genres: Comedy, Romance
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For Better, for Worse Reviews:

"For Better, For Worse" is a representative example of comfy cosy middle-class 1950s British cinema. Tony (Dirk Bogarde) and Ann (Susan Stephen) are an awfully great young couple of newly-weds from upper middle-class families who search it expensive to set up home in the West End of London. They have to settle for a rented studio flat with furniture on hire purchase. Being much in love, Ann really doesn't mind living in a style decidedly more modest than that to which she is accustomed - but how does one host a proper dinner-party in such very trying circumstances? There are different reasons for their finding themselves in this dilemma. Perhaps the most plausible is the housing shortage of the time. Then Tony, though educated at Charterhouse and Oxford, can search work only as a grade-three clerk on £5 10s per week. Strange this, given that the 1950s were not a time of especially high unemployment. Ann cannot take a job herself: "My fiancé thinks a woman's zone is in the home". They are too proud to agree cash from Mummy and Daddy, so they have to create do as greatest they can. "There are hundreds of us in the same boat," exclaims Tony. This nod in the direction of socio-economic criticism hardly convinces.Genteel light comedy of this sort depends on its charm. Bogarde gives his usual proficient performance (on the lines of his Simon Sparrow in the 'Doctor' series). Susan Stephen seemed considerably less effective in the eyes of this viewer - not sufficiently appealing, to be frank - but what constitutes charm is everytime very subjective. Dennis Price and Peter Jones do their comic turns as an estate-agent and a second-hand car-dealer - rather like their roles in the soon (and much funnier) "School for Scoundrels" - though even these apparently shady characters turn out be rather great really. The working-class types (chief among them a charlady played by Thora Hird) are all predictably quaint.British comedy movies of the 1950s are commonly attacked as bland, complacent, shallow, and 'unduly bourgeois'. Often I would want to rally to the defence. In the situation of "For Better, For Worse", however, it would surely be far wiser not to give battle.


'Temporary' civil servant (Bogarde) and his nubile young fiancée (Stephen) transport into a tiny bedsit ahead of their planned nuptials, but later search that their neighbours and lack of zone turn domesticity into havoc. When the rent and cost of living effect in their furniture being scheduled for repossession, they scene a clumsy attempt to avoid the repo men, seeking sanctuary in the neighbouring apartment of Dennis Price and wife Pia Terri (who are also facing the ignominy of eviction) but due to a satisfied coincidence, mummy and daddy (Herlie and Parker) come to the rescue proving that independence comes at a cost.Bogarde and Stephen deliver their dialogue with comedic precision, while Athene Seyler as the nuisance yet lonely old neighbour is a highlight among the talented helping cast. James Hayter is amusing as the stubborn plumber summoned to unlock a troublesome sink-trap before they give their house warming dinner party, the lead-up to which is nice comic farce. Fanatics of these types of B-movie English comedies will also rejoice at the appearance late in the movie of Sid James' sarcastic and overly-enthusiastic repo man.The script is witty and the story is well paced and economical, displaying keen observations of the challenges that young folks often face as they embark on co-habitation and independence for the first time. Timeless, entertaining comedy, an early effort from noted British director J.Lee Thompson who went on to direct "The Guns of Navarone" and "Cape Fear" in a long and distinguished career.


In the 50s British movies tried to combat the growing influence of TV.One of the first sitcoms was on BBC and was named "The Grove Family" about what would then be named a working class family.This is an upmarket ver of that set in Kensington in colour.However it all falls very flat as a comedy.Firstly there is a major trouble with Susan Stephen ,as she is simply not very good.It is hard to understand the couples circumstances,where Bogarde doesn't earn enough money,Stephen sits home all day and they employ Thora Hird as a everyday woman.There are all sorts of well known faces coming and going through this movie but alas they do not enliven what is a very forced farce.Bogarde would of course have a very successful career ahead of him whilst Stephen would later slip into obscurity.



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