Hard Labour (film)

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Hard Labour
"Hard Labour" (film).jpg
Liz Smith
Directed by Mike Leigh

Liz Smith
Clifford Kershaw
Polly Hemingway
Bernard Hill
Alison Steadman
Vanessa Harris
Cyril Varley

Ben Kingsley
Release date
Running time
75 minutes

Hard Labour is a 1973 television film, directed by Mike Leigh and produced by Tony Garnett which aired as part of the BBC anthology series Play for Today. The film stars Liz Smith in her first major role. The film is the most clearly drawn in all Leigh's work from the background in Higher and Lower Broughton where he grew up. "Though elements of autobiography are buried in all Leigh's films and plays, only Hard Labour is set in Salford, – the scenes in the Stones' house were shot in a house just two doors along from where the Leighs had lived in Cavendish Road." [1]


Liz Smith as Mrs Thornley
Clifford Kershaw as Mr Thornley
Polly Hemingway as Ann
Bernard Hill as Edward
Alison Steadman as Veronica
Vanessa Harris as Mrs Stone
Cyril Varley as Mr Stone
Ben Kingsley as Naseem


"The polarity between the worlds of Mrs Stone and the lady who cleans her house (the central figure, Mrs Thornley, the Catholic house-cleaner) is icily delineated. In the middle is the new housing estate, where Mrs Thornley's son, Edward, (played by Bernard Hill in his professional début), a car mechanic, lives with his wife Veronica (Alison Steadman)." [2]


  1. ^ Coveney, p.53
  2. ^ Michael Coveney, The World according to Mike Leigh, p.91

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