The Birthday Present

The Birthday Present is a 1957 British drama film directed by Pat Jackson.[1] It stars Tony Britton as Simon Scott, a top toy salesmen returning from a business trip to Germany with a watch hidden inside a toy, intended as a birthday present for his wife Sylvia Syms. He is caught by customs, arrested, and the following day sentenced to three months imprisonment. The film explores several complex issues: problems in finding legal representation, the lack of competence and insensitivity of some solicitors, the day to day reality of prison life, as well as the financial and other practical difficulties in making an appeal against a relatively short sentence. Scott decides to drop the appeal and serve his time. After his release he loses his job, as his prison sentence has become widely known owing to a gossiping colleague. However, Scott rebuilds his life, with support from a loyal line manager, played by Geoffrey Keen.

The Birthday Present
Directed byPat Jackson
Produced byJack Whittingham
Screenplay byJack Whittingham
StarringTony Britton
Sylvia Syms
Music byClifton Parker
CinematographyTed Scaife
Edited byJocelyn Jackson
Production
company
Distributed byBritish Lion Film Corporation (U.K.)
Release date
  • 31 October 1957 (1957-10-31) (London)
  • UK (UK)
Running time
100 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom
LanguageEnglish

The film also featured Thorley Walters and Ian Bannen in small roles.[2]

Cast

Critical reception

The Radio Times dismissed the film as "this doleful, overlong slice of surburban life":[3] while Allmovie called it "a bitter half-hour anecdote stretched to 100 minutes...Intended as a slice of raw realism, Birthday Present plays more like a cautionary social studies film";[4] but TV Guide concluded, "All-around fine technical efforts add a sense of authenticity."[5] The British Film Institute's Monthly Film Bulletin described the film as being "creditable" but "novelettish, and the problem handled and solved at a purely sentimental level".[6]

References


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