Hobson’s Choice

I watched this
last night, and enjoyed it a lot. It’s about a
woman who does all the work for a family with a mostly absent
father and two lazy sisters.

Not that I believe the fairy tale about getting capital for
your business from the first person you ask and paying it off
before it’s due. But the fairy tale about a woman deciding what
she wants and going and getting it is a lot of fun to watch.
And she gets to be the fairy godmother to the bootmaker in the
basement who hasn’t ever thought of getting a better job or a
better place to live.

The key sentence of the plot goes, “This business runs on the shoes you
make which sell themselves and the boots everyone else makes,
which I sell.” So obviously they should go into business for
themselves, and ditch the parasites.

Which they do. Unfortunately, the “happy” ending has them
coming back to the original shop and taking care of the
alcoholic father, but at least the lazy sisters are out of the
picture. The Cinderella ending I always imagined after “and
they lived happily ever after” was better, but the one in
Rossini actually leaves her still dealing with the father and
the stepsisters, so probabably I’m just being too escapist about
my fantasy life.

The cinematography of the alcoholic delirium is a bit dated,
but Charles Laughton’s acting of a man who’s drunk himself into
oblivion and incapacity is really good.


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