Before creating the beloved courtroom drama Rumpole of the Bailey (1978), writer John Mortimer found inspiration in his own life for this portrait of a difficult but enduring love between father and son in mid twentieth century Britain. Screen legend Sir Laurence Olivier stars as the eccentric patriarch, a blind barrister so stubborn and cantankerous that he refuses to acknowledge his sightlessness. Sir Alan Bates (Gosford Park (2001)) portrays his devoted son, who follows his father's footsteps in the law while longing to become a writer, with Jane Asher (Brideshead Revisited (1981)) as his wife. Adapted for the screen by Mortimer and filmed largely on-location at his family estate in bucolic Oxfordshire, this production garnered multiple awards, including an International Emmy for best drama. By turns hilarious and heartbreaking, it captures the special bond between father and son, which at times seems unbearable, but ultimately unbreakable.
Did You Know?
Clifford Mortimer quotes from stanza 9 of "Dolores" by Algernon Charles Swinburne (1837-1909): "Could you hurt me, sweet lips, though I hurt you? / Men touch them, and change in a trice / The lilies and languors of virtue / For the raptures and roses of vice;" Interestingly, this quote also turns up in Julian Mitchell's "Another Country", which also significantly features a boarding school. See more
It's something Humphrey wants to do. There's a character in it called the Common Man, who keeps saying "Look here, matey, what is the World Health Organisation?"