Thursday, October 29, 2009

Hobson's Choice

Last weekend I watched the most delightful movie with my husband. It was one of those old black and white relics that my children turn up their noses at like a stinky bathroom. In the movie, entitled Hobson's Choice, boozy widower Henry Hobson (played by Charles Laughton) runs a successful boot shop in Victorian England. He dominates his employees and his three daughters, but when his eldest, Maggie (Brenda DeBanzie), and his asistant (John Mills) marry and set up a rival business, Hobson must change his autocratic ways. Hobson's Choice garnered several British Academy Award nominations in 1954, taking the prize for Best Film.

Not only was it a delightful film with amazingly authentic sets, the story was the epitome of good writing. As a writer, whether in workshops or in text books, we are constantly bombarded with the advice to "show, don't tell." This movie did a superb job of showing the characters intentions and motivation, not telling about them. If, by chance, you are a new writer trying to understand that concept, I urge you to get this movie and watch it, carefully examining how the story unfolded. If you can't find it in your local video shop, which you most likely will not be able to, try NetFlix, that's where we got it.

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