Love on the Dole
A Film by John Baxter
Based on the 1933 novel by Walter Greenwood
Starring Deborah Kerr and Clifford Evans
Set in 1930s Salford during the Great Depression, Love on the Dole follows two young siblings, Harry and Sally Hardcastle, who fall prey to poverty and mass unemployment, and must make terrible sacrifices in order to survive. Initially banned when it was made in 1941, it has never been available on Blu-ray. On 18 January 2016 the BFI will release it for the first time, presented in a Dual Format Edition (Blu-ray and DVD discs), accompanied by three short films from the BFI National Archive and a booklet.
Although its stark portrayal of social deprivation led the British Board of Film Censors to ban the film as a ‘very sordid story in very sordid surroundings’, Love on the Dole nonetheless retains an optimistic spirit, reinforcing the ideal that Britain’s working classes could face any hardship. Through its impassioned performances, it shows faith in the values of liberal democracy which Britain upheld throughout the war, and looks forward to a better future.
Sally Hardcastle is played by Deborah Kerr (From Here to Eternity, The Innocents), who was just 19 at the time and at the beginning of her long film career. Geoffrey Hibbert (In Which We Serve) is her brother Harry Hardcastle and Welsh actor Clifford Evans (The Curse of the Werewolf, The Power Game) is her boyfriend Larry Meath.
Love on the Dole will be screened at BFI Southbank on 17 and 21 January (with an introduction by film historian Geoff Brown on Sunday 17), as part of the season Blitz Flicks running throughout the month. Each weekend, audiences can experience a matinee programme, 1940s-style, with all features playing with a supporting programme of propaganda shorts, just as they would have been shown at the time.
- New High Definition transfer
- Our Film (Harold French, 1942): Enthralling propaganda film contrasting the Russian and British home front
- A Call for Arms (Brian Desmond Hurst, 1940): Government sponsored film about life at a munitions factory
- Island People (Paul Rotha, 1940): a film surveying of aspects of the British way of life, as seen through French eyes
- Illustrated booklet with new writing by Chris Hopkins and Jo Botting, and full film credits