The Family Way
|The Family Way|
|Directed by||Roy Boulting|
|Produced by||John Boulting|
|Written by||Bill Naughton
|Music by||Paul McCartney|
|Edited by||Ernest Hosler|
|Distributed by||Boulting Brothers
British Lion Films
|Box office||$2,225,000 (US/ Canada)|
The Family Way is a 1966 British comedy-drama film based on Bill Naughton's play All in Good Time (1963). It began life in 1961 as a television play, Honeymoon Postponed. The film was produced and directed by John and Roy Boulting, respectively, and starred father and daughter John Mills and Hayley Mills. Naughton adapted the play himself.
Following the wedding of young, virginal Jenny Piper (Hayley Mills) to sensitive, bookish cinema projectionist Arthur Fitton (Hywel Bennett), a rowdy reception is held at a local pub in their Lancashire town. The couple returns to the Fitton home to spend their first night together before leaving for a honeymoon in Majorca, only to find Arthur's gregarious father Ezra (John Mills) continuing the drunken revelry with some party guests in the living room. Arthur clashes with Ezra, a lifelong gasworks employee who doesn't understand his son's enjoyment of reading and classical music. After a strained evening, when the newlyweds finally retire, their bed collapses as the result of a practical joke played by Arthur's boorish boss, Joe Thompson (Barry Foster). Jenny laughs at the situation, but Arthur gets angry at her and then is not able to consummate their marriage. Arthur promises Jenny that all will be well once they get to Majorca, but the next day the couple discovers that the travel agent who sold them their tickets has absconded with the money, forcing them to do without a honeymoon.
Unable to obtain a decent home of their own, Jenny and Arthur are forced to go on living in the crowded Fitton house with Arthur's parents and adult brother Geoffrey. Arthur is uncomfortable due to the lack of privacy and thin walls causing him to hear his father's every move. As days pass into weeks, the marriage remains unconsummated, and the strain between the couple steadily worsens due to Arthur's job keeping him away from the house at night, when Jenny is home from her day job. Jenny begins to spend more time with Geoffrey, who is attracted to her, although she puts off his advances. In desperation, Arthur visits a marriage counsellor, but his visit is overheard by a gossipy charwoman who spreads the story throughout the town. The parents of Jenny and Arthur finally learn what is happening after Jenny confides in her mother, which leads to Arthur's mother Lucy (Marjorie Rhodes) telling the Pipers how she went through a similar situation when Ezra brought his best male friend, Billy, along on their honeymoon and spent most of his time with Billy rather than her. Lucy's story strongly suggests that Arthur was fathered by Billy rather than Ezra. Jenny's Uncle Fred advises her that the problems would likely resolve if she and Arthur lived in their own home instead of Arthur's father's house.
When Joe Thompson makes fun of Arthur and scornfully volunteers to satisfy Jenny's marital needs, an enraged Arthur beats him up and walks out on his job, returning home to berate Jenny for disclosing their secret. Arthur and Jenny have a quarrel that leads to sex, overheard from a distance by the many gossipy neighbors in the gardens under Arthur's open window. The couple then finds that the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) bond has returned their holiday money, and rush off on a belated honeymoon to Blackpool. Before they go, Arthur is encouraged by his mother to ask his father for help with the down payment on a cottage that has just become available. Ezra gladly agrees to provide the money, and in so doing builds a better relationship with Arthur, whom he tearfully calls his son while noticing how much he looks and acts like the long-gone Billy.
- Hayley Mills as Jenny Piper Fitton
- Hywel Bennett as Arthur Fitton
- John Mills as Ezra Fitton
- Marjorie Rhodes as Lucy Fitton
- Avril Angers as Liz Piper
- John Comer as Leslie Piper
- Barry Foster as Joe Thompson
- Wilfred Pickles as Uncle Fred
- Liz Fraser as Molly Thompson
- Diana Coupland as Mrs. Rose
- Colin Gordon as Mr. Hutton
- Murray Head as Geoffrey Fitton
- Margaret Lacey as Mrs. Harris
- Harry Locke as Mr. Stubbs
- Robin Parkinson as Mr. Phillips
- Ruth Trouncer as Marriage Counsellor
- Thorley Walters as The Vicar
The premiere of the film was in London on 18 December 1966. The film was released on video on 24 February 1989.
In popular culture
The cover sleeve of "Stop Me If You Think You've Heard This One Before", a single by English rock band The Smiths, features Murray Head (as Arthur's brother Geoffrey) in a still photo from the film. Another Smiths single, "I Started Something I Couldn't Finish", is adorned by a still of Avril Angers from the same film. Both songs were released from the Smiths' final album, Strangeways, Here We Come.
- "Big Rental Films of 1967", Variety, 3 January 1968 p 25. Please note these figures refer to rentals accruing to the distributors.
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- men Administrator (19 April 2010). "Town is backdrop to so many films". men.
- Steve Howarth (8 September 2015). "Review: The Family Way @ Bolton Octagon". men.
- "Reel Streets". reelstreets.com.
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- "Morrissey". google.co.uk.
- "I started something I couldn't finish - The Smiths". thesmiths.cat.
- Stephen Thomas Erlewine. "Strangeways, Here We Come". AllMusic.