The Winslow Boy

  • 1948
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Drama

In 1912 in London, Hardwicke is a retired bank official whose 14-year-old son, North, is expelled from naval college when he is accused of stealing a five-shilling postal order from another cadet. Hardwicke is convinced of his son's innocence but he is prevented by British law and unconcerned bureaucrats from fighting for his son's honor. Stymied at every...read more

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In 1912 in London, Hardwicke is a retired bank official whose 14-year-old son, North, is expelled from naval college when he is accused of stealing a five-shilling postal order from another cadet. Hardwicke is convinced of his son's innocence but he is prevented by British law and

unconcerned bureaucrats from fighting for his son's honor. Stymied at every turn, he hires the most famous attorney in Britain, Donat. Donat makes an impassioned speech in the House of Commons that results in a Petition of Right that allows Hardwicke to sue the Admiralty and make them prove in the

courts that his son stole the postal order. The case is making headlines now and Hardwicke's family is facing the consequences: Hardwicke's daughter, suffragette Leighton, is left by her fiance; son Watling is forced to leave Oxford; and various legal fees are bringing Hardwicke almost to

bankruptcy. In a courtroom trial, Donat finally gets North to admit the truth about what he was doing when the postal order was stolen: sneaking a cigarette in the locker room. The court finds in favor of North and Donat makes clear that he intends to see a great deal more of Leighton.

The story may seem rather dry, but the performances of Hardwicke, as the father prepared to face ruin to restore his son's honor, and of Donat, as the brilliant lawyer who finally breaks through the boy's own personal code of honor to exonerate him, keep the movie an engrossing experience. Based

on the true Archer-Shee case of 1912.

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  • Rating: NR
  • Review: In 1912 in London, Hardwicke is a retired bank official whose 14-year-old son, North, is expelled from naval college when he is accused of stealing a five-shilling postal order from another cadet. Hardwicke is convinced of his son's innocence but he is pre… (more)

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