Home Movies by Decade Movies - 1950s Happy Family, The (1952)

Happy Family, The (1952)

A working-class family are under siege in this light-hearted South London comedy.

Government bureaucrats erroneously miss The House of Lords (a smartly-named shop in the middle of a bombed out street near Waterloo run by Lilian Lord and family) from their Festival of Britain plans and threaten to demolish the shop and the attached family home if the building is not vacated.

The whole family, including daughter Joan’s fiancé, Cyril (George Cole), decide to barricade themselves in and fight the powers that be.


They stoically cling to the property and after a week without water or light they are on the point of surrender when the Government capitulates.

On-the-money performances abound in Muriel Box’s film. Stanley Holloway’s put-upon Henry and George Cole’s bolshy Cyril are the pick of the men while Kathleen Harrison as spirited Lilian and Dandy Nichol as screw-loose spiritualist Ada are vital and on point.

Scenes including the construction of the festival site alongside long-gone landmarks like the Shot Tower of the Lambeth Lead Works give the film an extra note of pathos and curiosity.

Released in the US as Mr Lord Says No.

Henry Lord
Stanley Holloway
Lilian Lord
Kathleen Harrison
Mr Filch
Naunton Wayne
Dandy Nichols
George Cole
Mr Thwaites
Miles Malleson
Maurice Hennessy
Tom Gill
Margaret Barton
Shirley Mitchell
Eileen Moore
Laurence Naismith
Mr Granite
John Salew
John Stratton
Sir Charles Spanniell
Geoffrey Sumner
Richard Wattis
Cameron Hall
Mrs Potter
Eileen Way

Muriel Box