- Timeline More from year 1966
- Warner Cinema, London, UK
More from year 1966
Related master release
The Family Way - Original Soundtrack Recording (Stereo - UK)
By Paul McCartney • Official album
The Family Way - Original Soundtrack Recording (Mono - UK)
By Paul McCartney • Official album
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On this day, Paul McCartney and his girlfriend Jane Asher, as well as George Martin, attended the world premiere of the film “The Family Way“, a British comedy-drama film about two young newlyweds whose marriage has yet to be consummated, at the Warner Cinema, in London.
The soundtrack of the movie was scored by Paul McCartney and George Martin.
The Family Way is a 1966 British comedy-drama film about the marital difficulties of a young newlywed couple living in a crowded house with the husband’s family. Based on Bill Naughton’s play All in Good Time (1963), the film began life in 1961 as the 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 wrote the screenplay.
After Jenny Piper (Hayley Mills) and Arthur Fitton (Hywel Bennett) marry, a rowdy reception ensues at a local Lancashire pub. The newlyweds spend their wedding night at the Fitton’s house, where Arthur’s father, Ezra (John Mills), and some drunken guests loudly sing in the living room. Arthur clashes with Ezra, a lifelong gasworks employee, who is unable to understand his son’s love of literature and classical music. After a strained evening, the newlyweds retire, only for their marital bed to collapse, the result of a practical joke by Arthur’s boorish boss Joe Thompson (Barry Foster). Jenny is amused, but Arthur, believing she is laughing at him, is unable to consummate their marriage. Arthur assures Jenny everything will be fine once they are on their honeymoon in Majorca, but the next day, they discover that the travel agent absconded with their money, cancelling the trip.
Unable to afford their own home, Jenny and Arthur live with Arthur’s parents and adult brother Geoffrey. The thin walls and lack of privacy exacerbate Arthur’s discomfort. As days pass into weeks, the marriage remains unconsummated, straining the couple’s relationship. Making matters worse, Arthur works at night while Jenny has a day job. Jenny begins socializing with Geoffrey, who is attracted to her, but she rebuffs his advances. At Jenny’s urging, Arthur sees a marriage counsellor, but a gossipy charwoman overhears their session and spreads what was discussed. After Jenny confides to her parents that the marriage still is unconsummated, they then tell Jenny’s in-laws. Arthur’s mother Lucy (Marjorie Rhodes) reminisces to the Pipers about her own marriage having a slow start. Ezra tries defending himself when Lucy relates how he brought his friend, Billy, on their honeymoon and spent more time with him than her. Lucy later tells Mrs Piper about spending an evening with Billy when Ezra worked late, after which, Billy disappeared from their lives.
Joe Thompson, having heard the gossip, mocks Arthur and scornfully “volunteers” to satisfy Jenny. An enraged Arthur batters him, then quits his job. Returning home, he berates Jenny for disclosing their private matters. Their quarrel leads to them finally having sex. The gossipy neighbours overhear them and spread the news.
Meanwhile, the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) bond has covered the couple’s stolen honeymoon money, and they prepare for a belated one in Blackpool. Jenny’s Uncle Fred advises the couple to get their own home; Ezra agrees to help Jenny and Arthur with the down payment on their own cottage, wanting to build a better relationship with Arthur, whom he tearfully calls “son”. After Arthur leaves, Ezra ingenuously remarks how much Arthur looks and acts like the long-gone Billy, causing Lucy to console him.
Bill Naughton wrote a television play for ABC’s Armchair Theatre series titled Honeymoon Postponed, which was transmitted in 1961. The Observer described it as “a lively – almost Restoration – Lancashire working class comedy.”
Naughton adapted it into a theatre play that premiered in 1963 with Bernard Miles playing the father. It played for six weeks at London’s experimental Mermaid Theatre, then transferred to a commercial house, where it ran for three months. London’s drama critics awarded it the Best New Play of 1962–1963. Naughton sold the American film and theatre rights for $100,000, enabling him to become a full-time writer.
David Susskind bought the rights to produce the play in America, and cast Eric Portman as the father. However, Portman was unable to play the part.
The play debuted on Broadway in 1965 with Donald Wolfit playing the father. Susskind produced it with Daniel Melnick and Joseph E. Levine in association with the Boulting brothers, who were to make the film version. It closed after only 21 performances.
Production – Development
John Mills attended the opening night of the play at the Mermaid Theatre. After the performance, he went backstage to seek film rights as a vehicle for himself and his daughter Hayley, but discovered that they had been promised to the Boultings.
In July 1963, it was announced that David Susskind would make a film of the play as a co-production with the Boulting brothers, with John producing and Roy directing. Roy Boulting was writing a script with Naughton and Susskind and was hopeful that Peter Sellers, who had made several films with the Boultings, would play the father. The Boultings then focused on making Rotten to the Core.
The film was financed by British Lion Films and the Boultings. It was the only film made in Britain within a 12-month period financed completely with British capital.
Production – Casting
The Boultings contacted John Mills while the latter was making King Rat in Hollywood and offered him the role of the father. “I’d call it a comedy with serious intent,” said Mills, who called his role “the best part I’ve had since Hobson’s Choice.”
Hayley Mills was cast as the bride. She called her role “a most marvellous departure… no more school girl parts for me unless the character happens to be absolutely fascinating.” Mills called the film “an answer to Britain’s kook generation.”
Hywel Bennett was cast after John Boulting saw him in the play A Smashing Time. “We weren’t purposely looking for an unknown,” said Roy Boulting, “but mostly for someone who had the appearance of both sensitivity and masculinity.”
Production – Filming
The film was shot in Naughton’s hometown of Bolton, as well as in Rochdale and Slough. Some interior scenes were filmed at Shepperton Studios. It was known during filming as All in Good Time.
John Mills later wrote in his memoirs that “during the first half hour on the set on the first morning’s shooting I knew that I was going to enjoy myself. Roy was not only a superb technician but because he was pro- and not anti-actor, his direction was helpful and sensitive. We all felt perfectly safe in his hands and I personally owe a great deal to him for the final success of Ezra and indeed the whole film.”
Hayley Mills did a nude scene in the film, which received much publicity. She called it “a very integral part of the film… the whole thing was handled with great taste.” Mills also fell in love with Roy Boulting, but he was married. The two later became a couple and married.
Production – Music
The soundtrack was scored by Paul McCartney, who was still a Beatle at the time, and producer George Martin.
The film premiered in London on 18 December 1966. The film was released on video on 24 February 1989.
The movie became a notable critical and financial success in the UK. In October 1967, John Boulting claimed it was the most successful British film made over the past year.
The nude scene led to the film receiving a “condemned” rating by the Catholic Film Office.
The film is rated M in Australia and New Zealand for nudity and sexual references.
Variety wrote: “Hayley Mills gets away from her Disney image as the young bride, even essaying an undressed scene. Bennett is excellent as the sensitive young bridegroom. But it is the older hands who keep the film floating on a wave of fun, sentiment and sympathy. John Mills is firstclass in a character role as the bluff father who cannot understand his son and produces the lower working-class man’s vulgarity without overdoing it. Avril Angers as the girl’s acid mother and John Comer as her husband are equally effective, but the best performance comes from Marjorie Rhodes as John Mills’ astute but understanding wife.” […]
Last updated on December 23, 2022
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